Molecular characterization of the virulence protein secretion machinery of Enteropathogenic E. coli

Enteropathogenic and Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli are disease-causing bacteria that cause severe diarrhoeal illness and death in young children and susceptible individuals. Often associated with hamburger disease, these bacteria are extremely dangerous when consumed, secreting proteins that cause cell disruption and damage to the human digestive tract. The resurgence of these bacteria in regional and rural water supplies also poses a considerable threat to the health of populations. Dr. Nikhil Thomas is working to improve the understanding of the mechanisms these bacteria use to cause disease. He aims to identify bacterial proteins that interact with each other to cause infection in the digestive tract. By understanding the mechanisms and strategies these disease-causing bacteria use, antimicrobials and treatments can be tested, with the ultimate goal of a vaccine to prevent disease.