I research how bacterial pathogens cause chronic, antibiotic-resistant infections, especially in the long-lived lung infections that affect people with the genetic disorder cystic fibrosis. I am also a founder member of the interdisciplinary AncientBiotics consortium, which seeks to identify, reconstruct and test infection remedies from medieval medical books in the hope of finding new agents to treat antibiotic-resistant infections. You can find out more about my team and our work on our research website.
My lab has developed a high-throughput
ex vivo lung model for studying chronic lung infections. We use pig lung tissue left over from the meat industry, along with growth medium carefully constructed to mimic the chemistry of lung mucus in specific infection contexts. Our model has high clinical validity for the study of chronic bacterial pathogens in cystic fibrosis, and may be flexibly optimised to mimic other conditions. It also has the advantages of being cheap and ethical. We are keen to share it with colleagues from academia and industry who are working to understand and treat chronic lung infections. We also hope that adoption of this model will help to reduce the use of live animals in infection research by providing a 3Rs-compliant alternative.