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Biography

Joanna S. Brooke is an associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at DePaul University. She holds doctorate and master s degrees in microbiology and immunology from the University of Western Ontario (Canada), with emphasis on bacterial lipopolysaccharide assembly and bacterial ultrastructure, respectively. Her postdoctoral research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center investigated the interactions of diphtheria toxin with its host cell receptor. Her current research focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms underlying the biofilms of S. maltophilia. She has another research track investigating the presence of potentially pathogenic bacteria on surfaces. She has published 17 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Abstract

Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is an emerging global opportunistic multiple-drug-resistant (MDR) bacterial pathogen. It is associated with significant mortality among the immunocompromised patient population. This organism is found in water, foods, plant rhizospheres, and animals. Infections of humans with S. maltophilia have been reported including those of the respiratory tract (most common), bloodstream, soft tissue and bone, eye, heart, and brain. S. maltophilia has been co-isolated with other gram-negative MDR opportunistic pathogens, presenting the possibility of genetic exchange between these organisms. S. maltophilia can adhere to medical implants and catheters. A significant feature of S. maltophilia is its ability to form biofilms on plastics and host cells. Biofilms are sources of infections. Diagnosis and removal of implanted devices colonized with this MDR organism from patients are recognized by clinicians as important steps to aid treatment of infection. Our research uses molecular and biochemical techniques to isolate and identify S. maltophilia and study conditions that influence biofilm development to understand how this microorganism survives and persists in institutional and natural environments. We have studied biofilms of clinical and environmental isolates on a variety of surfaces. We will discuss new strategies to investigate the prevention/inhibition of S. maltophilia biofilms.

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