Transcriptome Characterization of Klebsiella pneumoniae during Infection (TRACKIN) (2016–2019)
Klebsiella pneumoniae (KP) is an important respiratory pathogen associated with significant mortality, fierce inflammatory responses and high
rates of antimicrobial resistance. KP thus represents a paradigm of an emerging pathogen, such that it is urgent and necessary to better understand its pathophysiology so that new therapeutic strategies can be designed. Upon KP infection, the host activates a sophisticated innate immune response with pathogen-recognition receptor activation of early inflammatory responses essential for infection clearance. Conversely, there is emerging evidence that some pathogens (including KP) are capable of modifying these host responses. However, host-pathogen
interactions at the cellular and molecular levels during infection are poorly understood. In this Fellowship I will take advantage of recent developments in the cutting-edge field of genome-wide in vivo sequencing to gain a better
understanding of the interactions between KP and the immune system. The ultimate aim of these studies is to provide a pathway forward for the
development of innovative therapeutic strategies that combat multi-resistant infections. During the first two years of my Fellowship I will be based at the Centre for Infection and Immunity (Cii), Queen¿s Univ. Belfast. Under the
supervision of Prof Bengoechea, a leading host-pathogen researcher (and external mentoring from Prof Sansonetti, Instit. Pasteur), I will acquire skills and knowledge in bacterial transcriptomics and pathophysiology, animal models, mutant library construction, virulence testing and innate immunity. In years 3-4, I will return to the Univ. of Qld under the supervision of Prof Schembri who has an outstanding track record in bacterial
pathogenesis research. Leveraging off the data generated at the Cii I will utilise emerging technologies to gain additional insights into KP infection. Overall, this Fellowship will extend my research experience, international profile and collaborations.