Antimicrobial resistance to reactive chlorine species
Antimicrobial resistance is an emerging threat to human health worldwide and has reduced the treatment options for life-threatening bacterial infections and increased death rates. The Council of Canadian Academies stated in their recent report that there were 250,000 resistant infections in 2018 in Canada with 14,000 death linked to resistant infections.
In this context, we study the molecular mechanisms of how bacteria detect antimicrobials and how they become resistant to commonly used antibiotics and disinfectants. In particular, we investigate antimicrobial resistance to reactive chlorine species such as hypochlorite (HOCl) which is a phagocyte-derived host defence compound and frequently used disinfectant (household bleach).
Chronic biofilm infections
Chronic bacterial infections frequently involve biofilms, which have an extreme capacity for evading the host immune system. Biofilms are polymicrobial communities of microbes which exhibit high tolerance to antimicrobials and account for more than 80% of all infections. Examples for biofilm infections include chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients, implant-associated osteomyelitis, heart valves endocarditis, chronic wound infections, or catheter and ventilator tube infections.
We study how interactions between different microbes
and cells of the human immune system (macrophages) contribute to chronic wound infections, delayed wound healing and antimicrobial resistance. We also exploit new antibiotics and novel therapies to treat antimicrobial resistant, chronic infections.