Evolution During Chronic Cystic Fibrosis Infection and Antibiotic Resistance
The Jorth Laboratory is interested in how microbes evolve during infection to escape the immune response and resist antibiotic treatment. Individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF) suffer from lifelong chronic bacterial lung infections, primarily caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa). The Jorth Lab uses genomic approaches to:
- Identify mutations that arise in bacteria collected from CF lung infections
- Discover mutations that arise in laboratory-evolved antibiotic resistant bacteria
Virulence and Host-Pathogen Interactions
The Jorth Lab recently discovered a set of P. aeruginosa virulence-enhancing resistance mutations (VERMs) that confer aztreonam antibiotic resistance and increase P. aeruginosa virulence, even in the absence of antibiotics. Lab members are working to understand the molecular mechanisms by which these VERMs simultaneously make this bacterium more resistant to treatment and lethal to the host.
The human body is essentially a culture vessel for countless microbes that colonize our bodies. In addition to causing disease, these organisms play essential roles in immune system development and help protect us from infection by invading pathogens. The Jorth Laboratory is interested in how the microbiome changes both compositionally and functionally during different disease states and treatments. We have experience studying the lung and sputum microbiota in people with CF, as well as the periodontal microbiota in people with periodontal disease.