Non-tuberculous mycobacteria

The non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTMs) are environmental organisms and opportunistic pathogens, posing a particular risk for those with underlying lung disease or immunosuppression. These infections are extraordinarily difficult to treat. We are applying some of the tools we’ve developed to study TB to this group of organisms, in order to better understand their unique biology with the ultimate aim of discovering new therapeutics.

New tools for TB

Mycobacterium tuberculosis grows slowly and is difficult to manipulate because it is biohazardous. We have long been interested in both creating genetic tools to understand TB biology and pathogenesis, and using genetics and complementary methods to probe bacteria during infection.


Current TB drugs are both cheap and effective, yet the death rate due to TB continues to be extraordinarily high. Two factors limit the usefulness of existing drugs – the long courses of therapy needed for cure, which in turn require substantial supporting infrastructure to deliver care, and the rising rate of drug resistance. Our lab is interested in both understanding how older antibiotics work in an effort to combat…

Fundamental Cell Biology

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a unique bacterium, with many basic biological processes that differ from other organisms. Our lab studies several areas of cell biology of the organism, including central processes such as cell wall metabolism, cell growth and translation.