Streptococcus pneumoniae (aka "the pneumococcus") is the leading cause of bacterial pneumonia. It is also a leading cause of bacterial meningitis, bacteremia, and otitis media, as well as an important cause of sinusitis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, peritonitis, and endocarditis. Up to 90% of people are colonized with S. pneumoniae in the upper respiratory tract without any symptoms. It remains unknown what regulates the switch between asymptomatic carriage and invasive disease, but it is clear that both bacterial and host factors contribute to disease outcome. Our lab is interested in understanding how S. pneumoniae responds to the host environment, and how differing host states impact disease progression.
What controls susceptibility to infection?
With a single breath, you can inhale up to 1800 different bacterial species (Brodie EL et al, 2017) - but most of the time, you don't get sick. Given this contact contact with the world around us, our lungs must be able to mount prote our lungs are constantly in contact with the wrold around us, it is critical that we We know our immune system protects us from infection, but how does our immune system regulate when and how to respond? While our