Understanding Bacterial Communication in the Skin Microbiome

When we talk about bacteria, there’s a lot of focus on the “bad” bacteria (pathogens) that cause infections.  However, bacteria can also be helpful!  The human skin is coated with bacteria (called commensals).  We are just beginning to understand the critical role commensal bacteria play in keeping us healthy and preventing infection by bacterial pathogens.  The Cech group was recently funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) for a project with collaborators Alexander Horswill and Richard Gallo to understand how healthy bacteria communicate with each other and with invading pathogens.  Understanding this communication is an important aspect of developing new ways to prevent and treat infections.

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), one of the most common human bacterial pathogens.

Derick and Chantal

Derick and Chantal working in Dr. Nadja Cech’s lab.

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