Lori Burrows, PhD
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences
Joint Member, Pathology & Molecular Medicine
4H18 Health Sciences Centre
- Bacterial Adhesins
- Biofilm Formation
Many bacteria use retractable, grappling hook-like fibres called type IV pili (T4P) to stick to, and pull themselves along surfaces. T4P are related to type II secretion (T2S) systems used to release toxic proteins from the cell. We study these two systems in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa with the goals of understanding their function and identifying vulnerabilities that could be exploited for drug development.
T4P and T2S systems must cross the fence-like peptidoglycan layer that acts as a skeleton for the cell. We investigate how large protein complexes are inserted through this layer, which must remain intact for the cells to survive.
Surface-attached bacterial communities called biofilms are important in environmental, medical and food safety-related processes. We study key biofilm developmental pathways by finding small molecules that increase or decrease biofilm formation by P. aeruginosa or Listeria monocytogenes, an important food-borne pathogen.