Our laboratory studies the opportunistic pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B Strep, GBS). These organisms colonize host mucosal surfaces and are leading causes of community acquired pneumonia and neonatal and pediatric meningitis. To persistently colonize or cause disease these microbes must sense and adapt to pressures across dynamic host sites.
Our work combines the use of in vitro models of host interactions, molecular biology, next generation sequencing technologies, and in vivo models to answer questions about the molecular mechanisms involved in bacterial colonization and infection. Current areas of interest include understanding how streptococci respond to changes in nutrient availability, evade the host immune response, and interact with the other members of the native microbiota.
Interested in these questions? We encourage you to reach out to Dr. Burcham by email to discuss openings in the lab.