Antimicrobial drug development
Bacterial keratitis is an aggressive and devastating ocular disease that requires immediate, broad-spectrum antimicrobial treatment to mitigate tissue damage and maintain sight. However, rising antibiotic resistance, particularly among Staphylococcus aureus isolates has rendered many current ophthalmic antibiotics ineffective.
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Tools for compound screening and prioritization
In order to further advance lead compounds we are developing genetic tool systems to interrogate the potential mechanism of action(s) of novel antimicrobial drug compounds in S. aureus. Through leveraging CRISPR technology we are defining a novel strain set which will allow for the identification of putative cellular targets of drug hits identified in our antimicrobial drug screening campaigns.
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Our overarching goal is to develop a deeper understanding of the virulence factors and other genetic determinants that allow S. aureus to successfully infect the cornea. Through merging whole-genome sequencing and metatranscriptomic approaches in disease models, we are defining the key drivers of S. aureus infection in order to broaden our understanding of this organisms’ pathogenesis in the eye.
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