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Infectious Diseases Group

Research Interests

Our interests are focussed on the study of the mechanisms of resistance and infectivity of microbial pathogens, and in fundamental studies of microbes as a means to identify novel drug targets that will allow us to circumvent these mechanisms. A common theme running through our studies is in the determination of the structure and function of microbial proteins involved in processes that are fundamental to the cell and its survival. Towards this end our studies range from molecular biology, through biophysical analyses, to crystallisation trials with the aim of determing the 3-dimensional structures and elucidating the mechanisms of operation of medically important proteins as a key to the development of novel small molecule modulators of their action.

Current areas of research include:

  • Studies to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of antimicrobial and toxic metalloid resistance determinants
  • Pathways of genetic exchange resulting in transfer of genes between pathogenic species and the emergence of new infectious diseases
  • Molecular genetic studies of pathogenic fungi, focussed upon elucidating the cell signalling pathways that control morphological changes that underlie their pathogenicity
  • Replication of viral pathogens, particularly negative-strand RNA viruses such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Measles Virus, with respect to the interactions necessary for viral polymerase function, and the response of the cell to infection
  • Lipids, rafts and infectivity in the parasitic protozoa: Studies of lipid and protein biosynthesis and trafficking in the etiologic agents of Leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and African sleeping sickness with a view to understanding mechanisms of pathogenesis and elucidating novel drug targets.