Designing highly targeted approaches to tackle infections whilst minimising the risk of disturbing the wider microbial ecology of humans and their environment.
Aims of the research
Each individual microbial cell is a remarkable microscopic factory, within which myriad molecular machines interact to drive processes as diverse as DNA replication, cell movement, protein synthesis and host invasion. Understanding how these processes occur is not only fundamental to all of biology but also holds the key to combatting major threats to human survival. Within the Institute of Microbiology & Infection, several groups study vital biological processes including how genes switch on and off, what regulates the location of particular genes on a DNA strand, how bacteria evolve in response to stresses and how individual proteins adopt specific shapes to perform their functions.
As well as revealing critical aspects of microbial biology, these fundamental studies provide new and important insights into how we might tackle antimicrobial resistance and emerging infections. For instance, these investigations are revealing ways that we can ‘turn off’ virulence traits in human pathogens and highlighting strategies that bacteria and fungi might use to adapt to new hosts, including humans. By interweaving the exploration of these central microbiological processes with more applied work on drug development and immune responses, our aim is to design highly targeted approaches to tackle infections whilst minimising the risk of disturbing the wider microbial ecology of humans and their environment.