Antibacterial resistance is increasing at an alarming rate, requiring the development of new strategies to combat bacterial infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of secondary infections, and is particularly troublesome to burn victims and cystic fibrosis patients. The bacterium is naturally resistant to many therapeutics, and has continued to develop resistance to many currently used treatments.
Using the tools of organic chemistry and molecular biology, the Miller Conrad lab is focused on targeting and understanding virulence through the study of resistance pathways and antivirulence targets. We are committed to extending the effectiveness of current antibacterial treatments by developing inhibitors to block resistance pathways. Many bacteria, including P. aeruginosa, use quorum sensing to control virulence. We are also investigating antivirulence targets that inhibit quorum sensing or block the production of key virulence factors in an effort to develop a new approach to treat bacterial infections.