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About the center

Acinetobacter baumannii is an emerging pathogen that causes primary and opportunistic infections, and is a serious concern in the hospital and battlefield setting. This organism has significant intrinsic resistance to antibiotics as well as an ability to quickly acquire new resistance. Additionally, A. baumannii can persist in a desiccated state on fomites, making disinfection and management of nosocomial infections particularly troublesome. The goal of this research proposal is to find unexploited therapeutic approaches by elucidating the role of uncharacterized genes of A. baumannii in this organism’s mechanisms of pathogenesis, resistance, and persistence.

Three projects will be established to:

  • Use a genomic approach to broadly identify the role of uncharacterized genes (Colin Manoil, Project 1)
  • Determine the role of envelope integrity with regard to bacterial viability (Sam Miller, Project 2, Center Director), and use expression analysis to identify genes and sRNAs of unknown function associated with drug, disinfectant, and desiccation tolerance (Carrie Harwood, Project 3). The work of the Center will be supported by an Administrative Core (Hillary Hayden, Core 1), a Protein Interaction Technology Core (Jim Bruce, Core 2), and a Data Dissemination/Resource Management Core (Mitch Brittnacher, Core 3).

The goals of this program are to:

  • Deepen overall knowledge of genes of unknown function (GUF) that contribute to important phenotypes of clinical relevance in A. baumannii: antimicrobial resistance, innate immunity, and desiccation
  • Assign biochemical function(s) to proteins and sRNAs involved in these processes
  • Identify new antimicrobial targets in A. baumannii and the importance of its cell surface properties
  • Establish a pipeline for identification of new infectious disease drug targets and models to test their efficacy

The GUNK center is part of the NIAID Functional Genomics Program.

Details on the Functional Genomics Program Steering Committee are available here.