The Bhagirath Singh Early Career Award in Infection and Immunity 2019 Recipient

Dr. Zhenyu Cheng

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterial pathogen that inhabits soil and water as well as plant and animal tissues. It is an opportunistic human pathogen, causing infections when normal immune defenses are disrupted. Respiratory P. aeruginosa infection is the leading reason for morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis patients. Remarkably, P. aeruginosa causes disease in a variety of hosts, including plants, insects, fish, mice and humans. P. aeruginosa infections normally persist in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients because of the formations of bacterial biofilms. One of the main problems faced by CF patients is inflammation in the lung caused by persistent P. aeruginosa infections. The objective of the proposed research is to characterize how a P. aeruginosa-secreted protease modulates inflammation in the context of chronic infection in CF lungs. The findings of this project may lead to the development of new strategies for alleviating the terrible inflammation in the lungs of these patients that eventually leads many of them to receive lung transplants.

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