Infectious diseases

Bacterial soft skin tissue infections belong to the most common manifestations of infectious diseases in New Zealand. The main colonizing bacterial pathogens are Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, but also other important species such as Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter have recently gained more attention. 

ESKAPE pathogens in a chronic, mono-species cutaneous murine infection model

However, in complex infections, such as abscesses, the invading microorganisms are often polymicrobial (multiple infectious agents) in nature and very little is known about the impact these microbial communities have on infections. Important questions such as how microbial interaction influences immune responses, how multiple microbes contribute to disease, and how to effectively treat polymicrobial infections remain to be answered. 

We provide a two-pronged approach, investigating how pathogenic traits of one bacterium might be altered either through direct bacterial interaction of the other bacterium or indirectly through the activation and modulation of alternative host responses. In addition, we study how polymicrobial colonization and exposure leads to the induction of different host immune response pathways to determine how this influences disease progression. 


Pletzer D, Mansour SC, Hancock REW. 2018. Synergy between conventional antibiotics and antibiofilm peptides in a murine, sub-cutaneous abscess model caused by recalcitrant ESKAPE pathogens. PLoS Pathog14(6):e1007084 

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