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Dr Paula Salgado

Wednesday 22 February 2017 - Clostridium difficile pathogenicity: insights at the atomic level

Dr Salgado is a structural biologist with a keen interest in proteins associated to human disease, particularly those caused by infectious agents. After a PhD at Oxford University and postdoc positions at Birkbeck/UCL and Imperial College, she recently moved to Newcastle University to establish her own Structural Microbiology research group. Work in the Salgado lab combines protein crystallography with microbiology to understand key aspects of C. difficile virulence at the molecular level.

Of particular interest are the mechanisms that allow C. difficile to form resistant dormant cells - spores - which have been identified as the transmission agent in Cdiff infections (CDI). A universal feature of endosporulation is the engulfment of the forespore by the larger mother cell at an intermediate stage in the process. Work in the Salgado lab, awarded an MRC New Investigator Grant (Nov 2014), has recently identified two essential proteins involved in the early stages of sporulation (Crawshaw et al., 2014, Serrano et al., 2016).

Surface proteins, including the para-crystalline S-layer that covers the bacterium and the motility-related Type IV pili, are also a focus of the lab and recent advances in understanding these proteins at the molecular level.