When they cause infections, bacteria often need to steal nutrients from their host to survive. For example, they must acquire iron to help them with growth, metabolism, respiration and virulence.

The laboratory of Dr. Mariette Barbier, in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology at West Virginia University focuses on understanding the importance of iron during infections caused by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Angela Wilks at University of Maryland, she recently obtained R01 funding from the National Institutes of Health for the next five years to determine how P. aeruginosa captures heme (a more complex form of iron present in red blood cells) from its host and how this process is regulated.

Together, the laboratories of Drs. Barbier and Wilks will shed light on how this system works and use the information they obtain for the development of therapeutics.

For more information visit, https://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/micro/