University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson
1501 N. Campbell Ave., Room 6210
Tucson, AZ 85724
Speaker: Michael D. L. Johnson, PhD
Title: "Harnessing the Power of Copper to Kill Streptococcus pneumoniae"
I am an assistant professor at the University of Arizona in the Department of Immunobiology and Bio5 Institute as well as a faculty member in The Applied Biosciences (ABS) Graduate Interdisciplinary Program. I currently have two independent projects in the laboratory. The first and major project stems from my first postdoctoral fellowship and involves how bacteria process metals. As copper is broadly toxic to bacteria, and has been since antiquity, the goal of this project is to uncover bacterial pathways targeted by copper or responsible for the mitigation of copper toxicity, and identify the corresponding mechanisms in each case using Streptococcus pneumoniae as my model organism. I will use the knowledge of copper mediating and poisoned pathways to identify new therapeutic targets that can synergize with the copper already provided by the host inside macrophages or various in other environments. This project has the end goal of circumventing antibiotic resistance by providing more stable bacterial therapeutic targets, as unlike with many antibiotics, bacteria have evolved for millions of years with copper present, and yet, copper is still toxic.
CONTACT: For more information, please email or call Andrew Pritchard or Myrna Seiter, (520) 626-6887.
This University of Arizona event is sponsored by the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, UA College of Medicine - Tucson. It is open to the public, particularly community physicians and other interested health-care professionals.