Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is the causative agent of Tuberculosis (TB) and this bacterium currently infects roughly one out of three people and causes millions of deaths each year worldwide.
A hallmark of Mtb infections is that individuals rarely develop active TB disease and most infections (~90%) remain in a latent or asymptomatic state where the bacteria are contained but not cleared by the host immune response. Mtb is exquisitely adapted to the human host and the bacterium’s ability to survive and maintain infections for years to decades is an essential aspect of TB pathogenesis.
We are interested in understanding the host and bacterial systems that Mtb relies on to maintain persistent infections in mammals. We leverage this understanding to discover novel small molecules that inhibit these systems to identify the next generation of anti-TB drugs. Work in the lab integrates genetics, protein/lipid biochemistry, cell biology, infection models, immunology, and chemical screens to accomplish our goals.