Professor, Departments of Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Associate Dean, Undergraduate Science Education
Cumming School of Medicine
3330 Hospital Drive, NW
Calgary, AB T2N 4N1
Our laboratory is interested in the pathogenesis of bacterial infections and the development of vaccines for their prevention. The primary focus is on a system we discovered that allows certain Gram-negative bacteria to obtain iron for growth in vivo by directly obtaining iron from the host's iron binding proteins, transferrin and lactoferrin. This system involves receptors at the bacterial surface that bind transferrin or lactoferrin as a first step in the iron acquisition process. The two main goals of our research are to determine the detailed mechanisms involved in the iron uptake pathway and to develop effective vaccines and therapeutic agents against pathway components.
The surface receptors are essential for survival of the bacteria in vivo, indicating that they are ideal vaccine targets. Receptor proteins from different bacteria that cause meningitis, lung infections and ear infections in humans and pneumonia in cattle and pigs have been tested for efficacy and licensed to companies interested in developing human and veterinary vaccines. However, vaccine development is currently hampered by antigenic variation of the receptor proteins. Our goal is to develop effective, broad-spectrum, long-lasting vaccines based on the conserved regions of the receptor proteins that are required for function.
Bacterial pathogenesis - infectious disease biochemistry
Other Area(s) of Research: