Infectious diseases still pose a threat at a global and local level, particularly as disease agents can evolve so quickly. For example, bacteria such as Salmonella and Shigella cause intestinal infections that can have devastating consequences particularly in developing countries, but bacterial strains such as these can be resistant to almost all antibiotics.
New approaches are needed to treat bacterial infections, one of which is focusing on understanding the methods by which the body's natural systems fight off the tens of thousands of potentially pathogenic bacteria to which it is exposed in ordinary everyday life.
A complementary challenge is investigating how disease agents change to prevent human intervention. Understanding the molecular basis of infection could assist in attempts to develop vaccines and other therapies to protect against infections.
This information will be exploited towards developing methods of controlling infection, including vaccines and antibiotics, in the continuing fight against disease that is crucial for populations worldwide.
The team is also investigating the relationships between different members of the family of bacteria that cause typhoid, Salmonella Typhi, in order to explain their evolution, antibiotic resistance and transmission within the human population.
Finally the team is involved in a number of major high profile collaborations worldwide investigating methods for developing vaccines against typhoid, dysentery, malaria, and tuberculosis, all critically important diseases particularly in developing countries.