Laboratory for Bacterial Evolution and Pathogenesis (LBEP)

LBEP contribution to Staph GBI 2019

Staph GBI 2019, University of Warwick

Part of the LBEP team headed to the StaphGBI 2019 conference in Warwick in order to catch up with the latest Staphylococcal research in Great Britain and Ireland.

LBEP team presenting at Warwick
The LBEP team presenting. From the top, in clockwise order: Amy, Josh and Joana.

The conference was started by Josh Harling-Lee who presented work from the first year of his PhD on “Network analysis of the Staphylococcus aureus pangenome reveals high variability in gene content, distribution and function”. Josh gave a great overview of how network analysis can be used to identify gene associations and genes involved in host-adaptation. It’ll be exciting to see how this work progresses through the remainder of his PhD.

In the same session on Staphylococcal Genomics, Joana Alves presented on “Staphylococcus aureus infection of human macrophages selects for novel pathogenic variants”. Joana’s talk on the evolution of S. aureus after passaging through THP-1 macrophages in vitro generated lots of interesting discussion and suggestions for future work. Thanks for everyone’s engagement with this project; we are looking forward to figuring out the role of specific mutations.

Amy Pickering presented on the second day of the conference in the Staphylococcal host-interactions session on “Host-specialised fibrinogen-binding by a bacterial surface protein promotes biofilm formation and innate immune evasion”.  Amy presented an overview of the work recently published in PLOS Pathogens describing the characterization of a cell surface protein of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius. We have identified that SpsL could be one of the bacterial factors promoting the restriction of S. pseudintermedius to dogs via an exceptionally strong interaction with canine fibrinogen that can mediate bacterial aggregation and biofilm formation.

The conference was also a great introduction to the Staphylococcal world in the UK and Ireland for Fiona Sargison who is in the first year of her PhD. Hopefully she will be able to present her work at the next StaphGBI that will be taking place in Sheffield in 2021. See you there!