Gram-positive bacteria

Professor Sriskandan focuses on the potential mechanisms by which serious Gram-positive pathogens cause disease, using the group A streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes) as a paradigm. S. Pyogenes causes and spectrum of disease ranging from pharyngitis to invasive infections such as necrotising fasciitis, rheumatic fever, peripartum sepsis and toxic shock. The research examines the interface between pathogen molecular microbiology and host immune response. One specific interest is the role of bacterial superantigens in streptococcal disease.

The Anand group is mainly interested in studying Nod-like receptors (NLRs) – a family of cytosolic pattern-recognition receptors which are activated upon sensing conserved microbial structures in Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens. They seek to understand the activation mechanisms of NLRs and the range of NLR-mediated immune processes that affect microbial survival such as inflammasome activation, cell-autonomous immunity, pro-inflammatory signalling and phagosome-lysosome fusion. Such studies are fundamental to understanding the pathogenesis of infectious diseases.

The main focus of the Brueggemann group is Streptococcus pneumoniae (the ‘pneumococcus’), a bacterium that is a major cause of diseases such as otitis media, pneumonia and meningitis worldwide. Current research involves using genome sequencing and unique collections of isolates to understand pneumococcal evolution, especially evolutionary changes related to antimicrobial use and vaccine selective pressures. Molecular epidemiology and population biology provide the foundation for all aspects of the group’s research.

Research group members