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Claudia Gentry-Weeks

Associate Professor

Office: C231 Microbiology
Office Phone: 970-491-5411

Research Interests

Bacterial Pathogenesis, Diagnostic Microbiology

The research in my laboratory is focused on two areas: 1) the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of Enterococcus faecalis, and 2) the regulation of integration of multiple antibiotic resistant genes in integrons of Salmonella enterica.

To accomplish the first goal, my laboratory is using a combination of genetic techniques and animal infection models to isolate, identify, and characterize genes encoding virulence factors of E. faecalis. E. faecalisis the third most common bacterium isolated from nosocomial infections in the U.S. and its increasing antibiotic resistance is a serious threat to successful treatment. E. faecalis causes infections of the urinary tract, soft tissue, and wounds, with extension of this bacterium to the bloodstream resulting in life-threatening bacteremia and endocarditis. My laboratory has discovered that this bacterium has the ability to survive for an extended period of time in macrophages. Since prolonged survival in macrophages may serve as an important virulence factor or may protect the bacterium from antibiotics, our research is focused on identifying and characterizing genes that contribute to intracellular survival of E. faecalis. In addition, our laboratory is determining the effect of the bacterium on the animal host during infection, since information on the pathological effect and translocation of this bacterium to the bloodstream is limited.

The second research area has resulted from my joint appointment in the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Salmonella enterica causes severe diarrheal and systemic disease in horses and cattle. The incidence of multidrug resistant S. entericais increasing, resulting in difficulties in treating infected animals. It has been determined that in many cases, multiple antibiotic resistance is conferred by the acquisition of antibiotic resistance genes within integrons on the chromosome of the bacterium. The goal of my laboratory is to identify specific conditions that control acquisition of antibiotic resistant genes by the integron.

Contact Us:

(970) 491-6144

(970) 491-0603