Our concerns in the Microbiology research area cover various aspects, including antibiotic resistance, the inter-relationship between microorganisms and disease (including cancer and inflammation), and the surveillance of novel pathogens.
Dr Helen McRobie focuses her research interests around the pharmacological characterisation and pleiotropy of the MC1R gene. Her work on the genetic basis of melanism in grey, fox, red and palm squirrels was the basis of the Black Squirrel Project.
Dr Caray Walker researches the mechanisms used by these bacteria to establish infection. Particular emphasis is on how environmental factors, such as iron, regulate gene expression and the importance of these mechanisms in the infection process.
Dr Chris O’Kane conducts research into the development of novel therapeutics for antimicrobial resistance, and the application of nanotechnology in the development of theranostic devices.
Dr Clett Erridge has a primary research interest in mechanisms connecting inflammation to lipid metabolism, particularly in the context of coronary artery disease and other inflammatory conditions associated with the liver. His interest also encompass the impact that the gut microbiota can have on the immune system and in drug discovery technologies.
Dr Don Keiller has a current research interest in the genomics and proteomics of chlamydia, which is a collaborative project with Addenbrooke's Hospital and the Sanger Institute.
The Microbiology research area is part of the Biomedical Research Group.
Find out more about our members on their profile pages.
In 2018 Dr Helen McRobie received a grant of just over £19K to support her doctoral researcher Silvia Caprari with her work on antibiotic resistance in the bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae.
K. pnuemoniae is a species of bacteria commonly found in the human gut. Infections with this bacteria are particularly common in hospitals among vulnerable individuals.
In many cases K. pnuemoniae are resistant to multiple antibiotics and as a consequence treatment with antibiotics is often ineffective. Not only are the bacteria themselves resistant to antibiotics but they also provide protection from it to other bacteria that would normally be killed, thus allowing susceptible bacteria to survive.
The World Health Organization (WHO) now consider K. pnuemoniae to be one of the 9 bacterial species of international concern due to its threat to human health.
The grant was awarded by The Frances and Augustus Newman Foundation to support one year of postgraduate study.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of 'First', our Faculty Research Newsletter.
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