Joanna B. Goldberg, PhD
Department of Pediatrics
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
The goal of my laboratory is to understand and disrupt the mechanisms used by bacteria to cause diseases in humans. Our focus is on the bacteria that are responsible for pulmonary infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). In particular, we investigate the synthesis and regulation of surface polysaccharides and other potential adhesions and virulence factors from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and members of the Burkholderia cepacia complex, both of which are key pathogens in CF. We also examine and dissect essential metabolic pathways in these bacteria as the targets for the development of novel therapeutics to combat these naturally antibiotic-resistant opportunistic pathogens. The general approach is to perform bioinformatic and genomic analysis and to construct and characterize specific bacterial mutants. These constructed mutants are then monitored for the expression and regulation of relevant phenotypic and genotypic characteristics and changes in the virulence and physiology using in vivo and in vitro models of infection. These factors are also assessed for their potential as novel vaccine candidates. The long-term goal of this work is to devise rational methods to inhibit virulence and promote clearance of infecting bacteria.
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