Welcome to the Dunman Lab
Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive bacterial pathogen that is reported to cause more U.S. deaths annually than HIV. Acinetobacter baumannii is a Gram-negative pathogen that is emerging as a predominant cause of infections within military personnel injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom and has recently caused deadly outbreaks in the U.S., South America, and Europe. In addition to causing high incidences of morbidity and mortality, both organisms have also developed resistance to all currently available antibiotics, further amplifying public health concern and accentuating the need for new antibiotics for the treatment of S. aureus and A. baumannii infections.
Our laboratory uses S. aureus and A. baumannii as model organisms to study bacterial pathogenesis and develop novel strategies for the therapeutic intervention of bacterial infections. That work has revealed that most bacterial virulence factors are post-transcriptionally regulated in a manner that involves the modulation of their mRNA turnover. Current laboratory projects are geared toward characterizing the molecular components that govern ‘native’ and temporal changes in mRNA degradation. These factors can be broadly categorized as either: small non-coding RNAs, ribonucleases, or RNA binding proteins. We have purified and exploited several of these factors as targets for antimicrobial drug discovery.
Current Research Projects
- Arginine Deiminase in Staphylococcus epidermidis Functions To Augment Biofilm Maturation through pH Homeostasis. J Bacteriol. 196, 2277-2289. (2014 Jun 15).
- Drug-eluting cements for hard tissue repair: A comparative study using vancomycin and RNPA1000 to inhibit growth of Staphylococcus aureus. J Biomater Appl. 28, 1235-46. (2014 Apr 01).
- An ribonuclease T2 family protein modulates Acinetobacter baumannii abiotic surface colonization. PLoS One. 9, e85729. (2014 Jan 01).