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Antimicrobial Resistance

Our ultimate goal is to find effective alternatives to antibiotics. We have identified a novel way to enhance the ability of the host to clear infections by antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Protein Conformational Diseases

Our ultimate goal is to prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases. We are identifying bacteria and their respective signals that affect host protein homeostasis

What is

Antimicrobial resistance

“the ability of a microorganism to stop antimicrobial from working against it” – WHO

Antibiotics

Lack of novel antibiotic classes leads to limited treatment options

Resistance

Constantly increasing resistance poses a threat on a global scale

Bacterial Infections

It is estimated that by 2050, antibiotic resistance will claim 10 million lives annually

Our Approach

Targeting the host and bacterial resistance mechanisms allows us to circumvent antibiotic resistance

How is

Human microbiota linked to neurodegeneration?

Somehow bacteria that are part of our very own microbiome affect the way proteins fold in our brains. Among many factors, antibiotics, diet, and aging affect our microbiota. A dysbiosis of the human gut microbiota has been linked to neurodegeneration.  A number of factors may be contributing.

Inflammation

Increased presence of Gram-negative bacteria can trigger chronic inflammation that was shown to enhance neurodegeneration

Aggregation-prone proteins

Bacteria can secrete amyloid-like proteins that disrupt host proteostasis. Such proteins can migrate from the gut into the brain

Displacement

Bacteria from various microbiome sites (i.e. oral) were found in brains of patients with neurodegeneration

Our Approach

We employ the C. elegans intestine as a test tube to study the effect of bacterial colonization on host proteostasis

Our Team

We believe that through hands-on experience, our students will learn to be the best in their fields. Everyone in our team has an essential function that contributes knowledge to the scientific community

Daniel Czyz, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

About me

Alyssa Walker

Ph.D. Candidate

About me

Alfonso Vaziriyan-Sani B.S.

M.S. Thesis

About me

Autumn Dove

Ph.D. Candidate

About me

Adrienne Hernandez

Undergraduate Scientist in Training

About me

Rohan Bhargava

Undergraduate Scientist in Training

About me

Garrett Ellward

Ph.D. Candidate

About me

Troy Benvenuto, B.S.

Postbaccalaureate

About me

Past Members

Shelby Harding

Undergraduate – 2018 Fall

Neelesh Bapatla, BS

Undergraduate – 2018/1019

Nelson Gonzalez

Undergraduate – 2019

Lillianne Marcheggiani, BS

Undergraduate – 2018-2019 (Honors Thesis)

Natalia Andraka

Undergraduate – 2019 Fall

Emily Donahue, BS

Undergraduate – 2019-2020

Benjamin Hoffman, MS

Technician– 2018-2020

Emily Herring

Undergraduate – 2019-2020

Learn more about our projects

Antibiotic Resistance

We employ in vitro tissue-culture models to identify modulators of bacterial entry, inhibitors of intracellular survival, and enhancers of the immune response

Proteostasis 

We study host-pathogen interaction using C. elegans 

Alternatives

We employ non-traditional approaches to target AMR in Gram-negative bacteria, specifically P. aeruginosa. Such approaches include specific targeting of bacteria by phages and restoring the efficacy of antibiotics by inhibiting efflux pumps.