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Matthew Stracy

Mathew Stracy

Mechanisms and prevention of antibiotic resistance and tolerance

We study how bacterial pathogens respond to antibiotics from a range of perspectives. Antibiotics are a double-edged sword: while they help clear an ongoing infection they also select for resistant pathogens within the patient’s microbiota, making future infections harder to treat.  We are interested in understanding how antibiotic resistance spreads during treatment and in developing new methods to reduce this unwanted collateral damage. Antibiotic treatment can also fail not because the bacteria are resistant, but rather because they transiently enter a dormant state which is highly tolerant to conventional antibiotics. In the lab we take an interdisciplinary approach to studying these important phenomena, combining molecular microbiology and advanced microscopy methods with evolution studies, pathogen genomics, and analysis of clinical records. Our ultimate goal is to gain a deeper mechanistic understanding of these processes in order to develop better ways to treat bacterial infections and new strategies to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.