Resistance to antibiotics is a major challenge facing modern medicine. It is usually the result of bacteria acquiring new genes or mutations that block antimicrobial action. A primary factor driving the emergence of antibiotic resistance is the repeated use of antibiotics to treat relapsing infections. In these cases, initial treatment with antibiotics appears to clear an infection. However, following stoppage of treatment, the infection quickly reappears (it relapses). A small sub-population of bacteria called antibiotic persisters are at the heart of relapsing infections. These are bacteria that transiently enter into an antibiotic recalcitrant state, often by hiding in innate immune cells called macrophages. Using Salmonella Typhimurium as a model pathogen, I study the relationship between macrophage phenotype and antibiotic persister survival, with the aim of developing strategies to push macrophages towards a state optimised for killing of antibiotic persisters. If successful, this could lead to new therapies that help limit the duration and frequency of antibiotic treatment.
After completing my PhD at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre (now MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences) in 2016 with Prof Petra Hajkova, I joined the MRC CMBI in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London as a Research Associate in the laboratory of Dr Sophie Helaine. In 2019, I was awarded an Imperial College Research Fellowship to begin my independent research career at the CMBI. My training reflects my broad interest across molecular and cellular biology, ranging from investigations in regulatory (epi)genomics, developmental and stem cell biology during my doctoral studies to immunology, host-pathogen interactions and antimicrobial therapy during my postdoctoral training.
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