- Professor (Bacteriology)
- Associate Academic (School of Veterinary Medicine)
Epithelial surfaces represent critical sites of interaction with host species for many bacterial pathogens. Our research deals with a range of bacterial pathogens (largely enteric), taking multi-disciplinary approaches to understand molecular determinants of infectivity and pathogenicity.
Lawsonia intracellularis is an obligate intracellular pathogen of pigs that induces hyperplasia of infected intestinal epithelium. We reported (McCluskey et al., 2002) the first specified gene product- LsaA related to pathogenicity. To date, this paper remains the sole example of work taking a molecular approach to define Lawsonia virulence and similar investigations, now incorporating genomics and proteomics, are continuing.
E. coli O157:H7 is an important foodborne pathogen and determinants that predicate asymptomatic infection in reservoir hosts such as cattle are objectives. Among these are bacterial surface (Roe et al., 2004) and secreted (Hoey et al. 2003) factors. To investigate these interactions, we developed a primary bovine epithelial cell culture system that has been used for additional studies to model interactions between these bacteria and cattle. More recently, investigations have employed proteomics. A significant advance was the development of an efficient methodology (Batycka et al., 2006) to study prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems that, along with other proteomics methods, is now employed to advance the understanding of numerous pathogens.