Current Research

Combating Antibiotic Resistance Through Disruption of Bacterial Communication

Antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is a global crisis that is becoming increasingly difficult to circumvent. Alternatives to conventional antibiotic treatment must be explored, such as introducing a disruption of bacterial communication. Through chemical signals, bacteria can detect and respond to cell population density by gene regulation. This reaction to cell population density is known as “quorum sensing”, which is used to turn on virulence pathways. The Blackwell lab has developed small molecules and peptides to disrupt this cell-cell signaling to temper the deleterious effects of bacterial pathogens. I am exploring how these compounds may be combined with antibiotics in order to potentially restore susceptibility of the pathogens to antibiotics.