Mathew Stracy

Mechanisms and Prevention of Antibiotic Resistance and Tolerance

We study how bacteria respond to antibiotics from multiple perspectives; ranging from molecular biology to infection epidemiology. Our ultimate goal is to develop better ways to treat infections and new strategies to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.

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 patient’s 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.

Group members

  • Mathew Stracy (Group leader)
  • Carolin Kobras (Postdoc)
  • Laura de Nies (Postdoc)

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