Our research focuses on antibiotic resistance mechanisms and virulence factors of clinically relevant Gram-negative bacteria. Resistance to antibiotics has dramatically increased in recent years, especially among Gram-negative bacteria like Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli or Acinetobacter baumannii. Multidrug resistance is often caused by acquisition of bacterial enzymes which are encoded on mobile genetic elements (e.g., plasmid-encoded carbapenemase genes). Highly pathogenic bacteria that are non-susceptible to last line antibiotics like carbapenems or polymyxins pose a major threat to public health. These bacteria cause severe nosocomial infections like sepsis or pneumonia and can be transmitted from patient to patient.
Therefore we are interested in characterizing
- molecular mechanisms by which Gram-negative bacteria become resistant to carbapenems and colistin
- the molecular evolution of carbapenemases like the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM)
- how antibiotic resistance genes can be transmitted by horizontal gene transfer in vivo
- the impact of carbapenem and colistin resistance on fitness and virul