Research

ANTIBIOTICS THAT CAUSE DAMAGE TO THE BACTERIAL GENOME do so in an effort to kill bacteria. However, like humans, bacteria are able to repair DNA damage and survive. In addition to promoting survival, these repair pathways may introduce mutations that lead to antimicrobial resistance. We are pursuing three major questions to understand how to combat antimicrobial resistance:

1.What is the molecular mechanism of DNA repair?

2.What differences exist in repair between bacterial species?

3. Can we inhibit repair to improve antimicrobial therapies?

Our research combines multiple approaches to achieve our goals. We integrate structural biology techniques with biochemistry and bacterial genetics to find our answers. Some of our favourite structural techniques include small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and of course, x-ray crystallography. Within the lab, we have access to a Rigaku MicroMax 007-HF x-ray generator for our crystallography, as well as a Rigaku BioSAXS-1000. Other structural instrumentation on campus is available through the Biointerfaces Institute and the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy, while much of our biochemical work utilizes the fantastic Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology.