Research of Nehal I. Abu-Lail
Profiling Pathogens using a Physiochemical Approach
- Profiling pathogens on genetic basis is labor and cost intensive
- Genes evolve kinetically and change with stress
Complement genetic approaches with physiochemical means to profile pathogens.
Pathogens can be distinguished from nonpathogens accurately.
- Multidrug resistance (MDR) assay
- Minimal inhibitory concentration
- Pathogenicity assay
- Phylogenetic grouping
- AFM of interactions between β-lactam antibiotics and E. coli
Virulence is a quantitative measure of bacterial pathogenicity which is defined as the ability of bacteria to cause disease. To date, bacterial cells are classified as pathogens based solely on whether they have virulence factors that enable them to conquer different niches throughout the course of an infection. However, although the complete genome of most major bacterial pathogens have been sequenced, predicting bacterial pathogenicity is yet difficult. Such difficulty is largely influenced by the enormous diversity of virulence-related genes and by the fascinating ability of pathogens to express various virulence factors in response to different environmental stimuli. These difficulties point towards the need to design new ways independent from nucleic-acid amplification assays to diagnose pathogens.
Our lab is interested in distinguishing pathogenic from non-pathogenic bacteria using a physiochemical approach. The central hypothesis of this research is that a combination of nanoscale and macroscale physiochemical properties, including bacterial surface elasticity, wettability, charge, biopolymer composition, adhesion and biofilm formation will provide a profile for pathogens. Our research is expected to point to a new creative and original multiscale approach to profile pathogenic bacteria and to further distinguish them from non-pathogenic ones.