Mathew Stracy

Mechanisms and prevention of antibiotic resistance and tolerance

We study how bacteria respond to antibiotics over a range of scales, from single-molecules to infection epidemiology. Our ultimate goal is to develop better ways to treat bacterial infections and new strategies to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Direct imaging of antibiotics binding their target proteins in E. coli cells

Identifying persisters cells which survive antibiotic treatment

We take an interdisciplinary approach to studying antibiotic resistance and antibiotic tolerance, combining molecular microbiology and advanced microscopy methods with evolution studies, pathogen genomics, and analysis of clinical records.

Antibiotics are a double edged sword: while they help clear an ongoing infection they also select for resistant pathogens within the patients microbiota, making future infections harder to treat.  We are interested in understanding how antibiotic resistance spreads within patients during treatment and in developing new methods to reduce this unwanted collateral damage.

Antibiotic treatment can also fail not because the bacteria are resistant but rather because they transiently enter a dormant state which is highly tolerant to conventional antibiotics. Furthermore, tolerance-conferring mutations can rapidly evolve in response to treatment. We are working on new way to eradicate these ‘sleeping’ bacteria to help stop infections recurring and reduce the number of antibiotic courses that patients need to take.

 

Relevant Publications

Stracy M, Snitser O, Yelin I, Amer Y, Parizade M, Rimler G, Wolf T, Herzel E, Koren G, Kuint J, Foxman B, Chodick G, Shalev V, Kishony R.
2022

Science 375(6583): 889-894

Stracy M, Schweizer J, Sherratt D, Kapanidis AN, Uphoff S, Lesterlin C.
2021

Molecular Cell 81: 1–16 

Stracy M, Jaciuk M, Uphoff S, Kapanidis AN, Nowotny M, Sherratt DJ, Zawadzki P.
2016

Nature Communications 7: 12568

Stracy M, Lesterlin C, Garza de Leon F, Uphoff S, Zawadzki P, Kapanidis AN.
2015

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 112(32): 201507592