Lance Keller, PhD
In the Keller lab we study the pathogenesis of Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus). Specifically, the lab is interested in the complex interaction between pneumococcus, other bacterial species, and the host. Changes in the microbiome can alter pneumococcal processes and it is important to gain a better understanding of disease progression in mixed species systems.
The lab utilizes various methods to monitor changes in gene expression, protein-protein interactions, and biofilm development. Spatial organization in the biofilm of different species over time and in response to external stressors is another area of focus. Extensive use of in vitro cell culture models to mimic bacterial interactions with human tissues is performed. Use of in vivo models to examine variations in disease development and treatment are used in mixed species infections. We believe that increased research on human disease caused by the interaction between multiple species will help in decreasing bacterial infections and increase our understanding of basic biological variations that occur due to interspecies crosstalk.
Ultimately these research areas will aid in grasping how differences in resident microbes alter progression from a commensal organism to a human pathogen and possible routes to prevent serious infections.