Healthcare-associated infections (HCAI) are those that occur in patients receiving medical treatment in a hospital, long-term care facility or as an outpatient. These infections increasingly involve bacteria that are resistant to most antibiotics and are therefore difficult to treat. The organisms that represent the most risk to human health, and for which we have limited treatment options are the ESKAPE pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Actinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter Spp.). My main areas of interest are the molecular epidemiology, transmission and pathogenesis of HCAIs, particularly ESKAPE pathogens and Clostridium difficile. Our group explores how these aspects of HCAIs can underpin the development of more effective infection control strategies and novel anti-infective therapeutics.
Past and current projects have investigated:
The significance of the host immune response and bacterial virulence to the clinical outcome of bloodstream infections caused by S. aureus including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).
The patterns and transmission of antibiotic-resistance genes in Gram-negative pathogens that produce extended spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL).
The potential contribution of horizontal gene transfer within biofilms to the evolution of S. aureus.
Detection and transmission of antibiotic-resistance pathogens such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) in the clinical environment adjacent to patients.
The effectiveness of targeted antimicrobial peptides and other novel agents, against specific infections involving antibiotic resistant pathogens such as MRSA (catheter-associated and wound infection), ESBL-producers (urinary tract and bloodstream infections)and P. aeruginosa (chronic respiratory infections).