The antibiotic crisis
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has reached the status of global disaster, such that existing antibiotics fail to treat infections. By 2050, 10 million people a year could die worldwide as a result of AMR, up from around 700,000 today. Infectious diseases pose a serious problem to the health of Canadians and worldwide with a considerable social and economic burden.
Most research efforts addressing this problem rely on testing microbes in isolation under standard lab conditions. However, we aim to uncover novel antibiotic resistance determinants and virulence factors that contribute to the arsenal superbugs deploy during infection by testing under infection-mimetic conditions. The generated knowledge base will enable us to discover novel antimicrobial strategies to fight superbugs.
Our research directions
We are engaged in interdisciplinary studies using microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, chemical biology and chemogenomics approaches towards the following goals:
1. Uncovering novel virulence and antibiotic resistance determinants uniquely expressed under host relevant conditions
2. Characterizing interbacterial interactions, and determining their influence on bacterial fitness and response to antibiotics
3. Defining the chemical resistome: Uncovering how small molecules that may be encountered by bacteria, including polyamines, influence bacterial physiology and modulate bacterial adaptation and survival in response to antibiotics and other stress conditions
4. Discovery of novel antimicrobial strategies, including antivirulence agents and inhibitors of antibiotic resistance mechanisms, by high throughput screening, with applications in human and veterinary medicine