Research projects in the Haydel Lab extend into two separate foci that have a common clinical link addressing how mycobacterial pathogens cause disease in humans.
The first project uses molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, and microbiology to decipher the unique regulatory and genetic intricacies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that are responsible for various disease processes in humans. The long-term goal is to translate our understanding of these genetic mechanisms into novel targets for antibacterial discovery or into vaccine strategies.
The second project builds on clinical observations demonstrating that natural clay minerals are effective at healing patients with Buruli ulcer, a necrotic skin infection caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. We have made extensive progress in establishing how the hydrated clay mineral environment kills bacteria. Ongoing efforts are aimed at defining the mechanism of action, synthesizing chemically-stable and consistent antibacterial minerals for use as an inexpensive, complementary therapeutic, and validating antibacterial activity in vivo.
The interesting and exciting nature of these two projects is their procession in parallel, yet completely opposite manners. In essence, the first project begins with bacterial genetics and molecular physiology and ends in the clinical realm, while the second project begins with the medical application and ends with discipline-based research investigations and discoveries.