Bacterial persistence: two tales of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in chronic infections
Dr. Dao Nguyen (McGill University)
ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a ubiquitous environmental bacterium, yet, also causes chronic and fatal lung infections in vulnerable patients where it can persist despite aggressive antibiotic therapy and active immune responses. The Nguyen lab aims to understand how P. aeruginosa survives antibacterial toxicity and evades host defenses, as the bacterial and host mechanisms that lead to bacterial persistence remain incompletely understood. First, we determined how starvation responses and oxidative stress pathways in P. aeruginosa shape the envelope permeability of slow-growing bacteria, and uncovered the novel role of cyclopropane fatty acids in bacterial envelope and multidrug tolerance. Second, we demonstrate that P. aeruginosa, conventionally known as an extracellular pathogen, can survive and persist within lung epithelial cells, suggesting that this previously unrecognized lifestyle may also plays an important role in long-term bacterial persistence within the host.
Dr Dao Nguyen is a clinician scientist, Associate professor of Medicine at McGill, investigator at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre Meakins Christie Laboratories, and attending staff in the Division of Respirology at the McGill University Health Centre. She has received her MD.CM (1997) and MSc Epidemiology (2004) degrees from McGill University, and completed her clinical training in Internal Medicine (New England Medical Center, Tufts University) and respirology (McGill University), and post-doctoral research training (2004-2009) at Childrens’ Hospital and the University of Washington (Seattle).
Her research is focused on the molecular microbiology and host-pathogen interactions of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as antibiotic discovery and the mechanisms of antibiotic tolerance. She is the recipient of a Cystic Fibrosis Canada Scholarship, CIHR Clinician scientist award, FRQS Chercheur Boursier Senior and Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientist. She has published over 35 peer-reviewed articles, including in journals such as Science, Science Advances, PNAS, FASEB, Cell Reports, and Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Nguyen is the guest of Dr. Ann English