Bacteria secrete virulence factors in order to commandeer host cells and evade our immune system. Coombes Lab researchers use cutting-edge technologies in quantitative proteomics, functional genomics, and structural biology to understand the molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis and the actions of virulence factors. This knowledgebase creates opportunities for innovative drug target discovery with tangible impacts on public health.
Harnessing Immunity to Combat Superbugs
Pathogens use sophisticated strategies to overcome the innate immune system in order to colonize, establish a host niche, and transmit to new hosts. The Coombes Lab has embarked on a line of research to understand the components of the innate immune system involved in protection against enteric pathogens such as Salmonella, pathogenic E. coli, and bacteria associated with Crohn’s disease.
It is now accepted that Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease driven by microbes in our gut. However, mechanisms by which pathogenic or commensal microbes work in concert with each other and with host factors to drive this inflammation are not well known. Coombes Lab scientists are conducting basic research and working with the private sector to understand the microbes that drive chronic inflammation during Crohn's disease, with a particular focus on adherent- invasive E. coli that are linked to Crohn's disease in humans.