Neisseria: pathogens and commensal

Work on Neisseria spp. focuses on the ability of bacteria colonise mucosal surfaces and avoid immune killing. Strains of commensal and pathogenic Neisseria express Type IV pili (Tfp) which are involved in interactions between bacteria, and between bacteria and their human host. We study mechanisms that bacteria employ to evade complement mediated killing, and how members of the flora bind to epithelial surfaces and influence pathogen attachment.

The group translates its findings on host:pathogen interactions to the development of vaccines for the prevention of disease. Antigens identified by the group have led to two clinical trials to date. Further projects in the laboratory and with collaborators are underway to optimise vaccine antigens against pathogenic Neisseria.