Heras - Bacterial virulence factors: structure and function
Dr Begoña Heras
Australian Research Council Future Fellow, College of Science, Health and Engineering
The last few decades have witnessed an explosion in the rates of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. Meanwhile, the antibiotics development pipeline has declined; only two new antibiotics have been approved since 2009. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released a report stating that "antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat" and urging governments to introduce initiatives to tackle bacterial infections to avoid returning to the pre-antibiotic era where bacterial infections were virtually untreatable.
Our research program examines the molecular mechanisms underlying Gram-negative bacterial infections. We use a multidisciplinary approach combining X-ray crystallography, molecular biology and biochemistry to investigate the structure-function relationships in proteins involved in bacterial pathogenesis and develop antibacterial drugs with novel modes of action.