Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus

Leader: Dirk Bumann

Co-leader: Annelies Zinkernagel

Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive bacterium, which is commonly found in the upper airways and on skin. It can cause a wide variety of disease including skin and soft-tissue infections, pneumonia, and deep-seated infections that cause major morbidity and mortality worldwide. Effective antibiotic treatment is becoming increasingly difficult because of increasing resistance. Deep-seated infections are difficult even in absence of resistance for unknown reasons. 

WP-SAU aims to unravel mechanisms that enable S. aureus tolerance to antibiotics, and to develop patient-mimicking in-vitro models that enable discovery of novel, more effective eradication strategies. WP-SAU focuses on deep-seated joint infections, pneumonia, and skin abscesses. Mass spectrometry, imaging, and molecular biology are used to determine S. aureus localization and properties, local metabolite and antimicrobial concentrations, and in-situ killing efficacy of antimicrobial chemotherapy. Based on this information, physiologically relevant in-vitro models are developed. These models and analytical workflows support collaborative drug discovery programs with industrial partners aiming at non-conventional strategies.

The three main objectives:

  • Objective 1: To obtain and analyzeS. aureus cells from implants, deep-seated tissues and airway infections and skin abscesses.
  • Objective 2: To develop patient-mimicking in-vitro models with relevant S. aureus physiology.
  • Objective 3: To establish and utilize assays for non-conventional anti-virulence inhibitors.