Catherine L. Grimes, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Institution
University of Delaware
Address
134 Brown Labs
City, State, Zip
Newark, DE 19716
Phone
(302) 831-2985
E-mail
cgrimes[at]udel.edu
Website
http://www.udel.edu/chem/grimes/grimesgroup/
Research Field
Chemical Biology
Award Year
2014

Research

Our laboratory is studying the bacterial cell wall, a skin that surrounds bacterial cells.  We are interested in understanding how the bacterial cell wall is produced and degraded.  Our main objectives in learning more about bacterial cell walls are to identify potential antibiotic targets and to understand how the human body generates an immune response. In order for the body to respond to a bacterial infection, fragments of bacterial cell wall are generated and then subsequently recognized by the immune system. However, the identity of these cell wall fragments is not known. In order to identify these fragments, our laboratory aims to “trick” bacteria into incorporating a molecular tag into their cell wall using a powerful combination of methods from cell biology, molecular genetics, carbohydrate chemistry, biochemistry, immunology and microbiology.  This work could lead to the identification of new targets for more effective antibiotics, and could reveal how autoimmunity develops in disorders such as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, in which the misidentification of bacterial products is thought to trigger chronic inflammation.