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Host cell interactions research

The interaction of bacteria such as Salmonella with epithelial cells and macrophages is a key element of their virulence strategy. The pathogen manoeuvres to use trafficking pathways belonging to the host, in order to create a customised membrane-bound compartment that supports bacterial replication. The molecular details of the host factors involved in this perversion of our own biology are poorly defined. We are applying comparative genomics and protein-protein array technology to understand the biophysical and biological details of these host-pathogen interactions.

In one example of major importance, the bacterial capsule is thought to protect some bacteria from being taken up into macrophages, but "how?" is unclear. We are using new imaging technologies to address how the capsule prevents effective capture of the bacteria: live cell fluorescence including 4D imaging is being applied to visualize the cell-cell interactions in what appears to be a tug-of-war between macrophages and intended prey like Klebsiella and Salmonella.

Postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students


Major collaborators


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