PhD: Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
Post-Doctoral: Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire
Titles & Appointments
Adjunct Associate Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Associate Professor of Biology, School of Science
1998BSBrigham Young University
My laboratory studies the interactions between bacterial pathogens and the host epithelium. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how Pseudomonas aeruginosa exploits underlying lung dysfunction in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF) to establish and maintain chronic lung infection. After CF lung colonization, P. aeruginosa undergoes genetic regulatory changes leading to the formation of antibiotic-resistant biofilms, which persist in the lung for the life of the patient despite aggressive antimicrobial therapy. We have developed a novel system for the development of P. aeruginosa biofilms on human CF-derived airway epithelial cells in vitro. Using this model, we are identifying factors that impact biofilm antibiotic resistance as well as bacterial virulence in the context of CF lung infection.
We are also interested in understanding the mechanisms of biofilm formation in chonic wound infections. While a number of different pathogens have been identied in chronic wounds, P. aeruginosa is found in the most severe. We are investigating how this microbe colonizes these sites and maintains long-term infection.
The overall goal of our research is to better understand the nature of chronic infections so that new and better therapies can be developed. Toward that end, we are testing novel compounds for antimicrobial and antibiofilm activity.
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