Anthony R. Richardson, Ph.D.


Our research focuses on understanding the contribution of bacterial physiology to infection and disease. Invading pathogenic microbes must thrive within the host despite an impressive immune response. The human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus exemplifies this metabolic adaptation by shifting into a physiological state that is resistant to innate immune effectors such as reactive oxygen/nitrogen intermediates. This metabolic flexibility distinguishes S. aureus from the other, less pathogenic, species of the genus Staphylococcus, thereby serving as an ideal model to study the metabolic evolution of a pathogen as it emerged from a genus of commensal bacteria. We employ bacterial genetics, physiology, systems biology, structural biology and pathogenesis to explore the metabolic adaptation of invading S. aureus to the immunocompetent host environment. We are further interested at the interplay between host physiology and bacterial virulence by using similar approaches to investigate the effects of metabolic disorders such as diabetes on S. aureus disease outcomes. Together, this work may yield new treatments for patients suffering from dangerous and costly S. aureus infections.

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