Cross-disciplinary approaches to biomedical research

    Press/Media: Research

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    Associate Professor Ana Traven (Monash BDI) and Dr Mike McDonald (Science) Understanding how bacterial-fungal interactions evolve to modulate antimicrobial drug resistance ($29,859)

    A point that is often overlooked is that microbes don’t live or cause infections in isolation – they live in microbial communities (the microbiome being a great example). Within in these communities they influence each other, sometimes in antagonistic ways and other times in beneficial ways. Associate Professor Traven’s lab will join forces with Dr McDonald’s lab, who are experts in molecular evolution, to tackle the problem of polymicrobial infections in a new way. Together, they will undertake the first ever co-evolution experiment in the lab between two important human pathogens, Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus.

    “Our idea is that this will lead us to genes that promote or antagonise co-existence. We aim to identify factors that have an impact on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) features of polymicrobial infections and/or factors that module the infection potential of these bugs,” Associate Professor Traven said,

    “The exciting part of this project is that our labs truly come to the problem from different perspectives – we often talk about the need for new, out of the box thinking to solve the AMR crisis, and this project really is it. The work has potential to both reveal brand new fundamental biology, and have some practical applications in the sense of finding new ways to treat infections,” she said.

    Period4 Sept 2018

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