Streptococcus pneumoniae is one of the most important human pathogens. It consistently ranks among those bacteria with the highest mortality rates and highest number of resistance-associated deaths. New and effective ways to combat S. pneumoniae infections are therefore needed.
We want to contribute to the search for new antibacterial therapies by first building a better understanding of how S. pneumoniae grows and divides. More specifically, we study how S. pneumoniae regulates different cell cycle processes - such as DNA replication, chromosome segregation and cell division - and how these different processes are coordinated to each other. Like most bacteria, S. pneumoniae can thrive in a variety of different growth conditions and is able to survive hostile environments such as those encountered during in vivo infections. Our research is therefore not limited to standard laboratory growth conditions but aims to study cell cycle regulation upon a variety of different clinically-relevant perturbations.
We use a combination of genetic approaches, molecular cell biology and biochemistry to elucidate molecular mechanisms of S. pneumoniae cell cycle regulation. The obtained insights can point towards previously unexplored bacterial vulnerabilities. Our research may thereby reveal novel ways to block growth of this major human pathogen. This way, we hope that our work will contribute to the development of novel antibacterial therapies.