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We combine a diverse suite of genetic, biochemical, molecular, and genomic approaches with a variety of high-throughput host systems to address fundamental questions concerning how soil bacteria impact human health and agriculture.
Colonization and Innate Immune Evasion by the Emerging Opportunistic Pathogen Stenotrophomonas maltophilia
S. maltophilia is an emerging, multi-drug-resistant (MDR), opportunistic pathogen that frequently colonizes ventilator tubes and indwelling medical devices where it forms biofilms. Initial colonization can lead to severe, life-threatening infection and recent studies show that both incidence and prevalence are increasing, especially in immunocompromised, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cancer patients—demographic groups key to the research
mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Brook, 2012; Emerson et al., 2010; Metan et al., 2006). Currently, there are critical knowledge gaps with respect to how S. maltophilia avoids clearance by humoral and cellular components of the immune system and how biofilm communities are established in vivo. We are using a variety of forward genetic screens to identify bacterial factors involved in colonization of biotic and abiotic surfaces, host cell toxicity, and immune evasion.
Virulence Priming of Opportunistic Pathogens
Invertebrate Assays of Bacterial Virulence
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