Dr. Aoife Boyd leads the Pathogenic Mechanisms group at the National University of Ireland Galway. This group characterises the molecular mechanisms deployed by bacteria in order to survive and multiply during colonisation and infection. By identifying and characterising these mechanisms that a bacterium uses to ensure its survival and persistence, these molecular activities can then be targeted for the development of therapeutics to enhance health and target disease.
Vibrio vulnificus causes gastroenteritis after eating contaminated shellfish and can also cause fatal septicaemia through wound infections. It has a severe detrimental economic impact on aquaculture, as well as being detrimental to human health. The PATHSENSE project aims to determine the role of the stressosome in controlling the key virulence characteristics of this bacterium. The project will utilise molecular and cellular techniques to investigate the bacterial molecules that modify host cell behaviour and facilitate bacterial survival and the adhesins that attach bacteria onto host cells to facilitate colonisation
As well as increasing understanding of regulation of Vibrio pathogenesis, this research promotes a broader knowledge of host manipulation by bacteria. Furthermore it could lead to the identification of candidate targets for preventive and therapeutic antimicrobial strategies, thereby improving food safety and human health.