Research & Publications
Our laboratory is interested in how environmental or commensal organisms--bacteria with which we come into daily contact--can become pathogens capable of causing severe, life-threatening infections. To answer this question, we study the bacterial determinants that allow the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa to move between soil and water reservoirs to human patients, as well as the host immune responses that usually keep it in check. Recent projects also address strategies to discover new and re-purpose old antibiotics against this MDR pathogen.
We are also studying how the use of antibiotics alters the composition of the bacteria that reside in the human gut-- the "gastrointestinal microbiome"--and what consequences this has for an individual's ability to mount immune responses to vaccines and to infecting pathogens.
Specialized Terms: Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Innate immunity; Host-pathogen interactions; Mucosal immunity
Extensive Research Description
Dr. Kazmierczak studies opportunistic pathogens, with a primary emphasis on Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Her group is focused on understanding how microorganisms transition between commensal relationships with humans to causing disease. The following research projects are active in the laboratory.
- Regulation of genes involved in biofilm formation, Type 3 secretion and Type 6 secretion in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
- Regulatory networks that control and coordinate pilus and flagellar assembly in response to environmental cues in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
- Modulation of mammalian innate immune responses to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection by the bacterial Type 3 secretion system apparatus and effectors.
- Single-cell analysis of Type 3 secretion system expression: how is phenotypic heterogeneity generated within a clonal population, and how does it affect fitness of a pathogen in the host?
- Novel approaches to understanding intrinsic antibiotic resistance and developing new antimicrobials.
- Acquisition of gut and airway microbiome populations in infants with Cystic Fibrosis and healthy controls: consequences for disease progression and development of inflammation.
Bacterial Infections; Education, Medical, Graduate; Immunity, Innate; Microbiology; Pseudomonas; Biomedical Research; Host-Pathogen Interactions; Infectious Disease Medicine