Staphylococcus aureus

Photo ©M Oeggerli 2008. Supported by Pathology, University Hospital Basel and School of Life Sciences, FHNW. 

Staphylococcus aureus

Leader: Dirk Bumann

Co-leader: Annelies Zinkernagel

Researchers: Minia Antelo Varelo, Silvio Brugger, Jessica Burnier, Beatrice Claudi, Fabienne Estermann, Alejandro Gomez Mejia, Sanne Hertegonne, Sandro Jakonia, Nina Khanna, Jasmin Künnecke, Jiagui Li, Maria Mazzuoli, Srikanth Mairpady Shambat, Vishwachi Tripathi, Jan-Willem Veening

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.