Courtney Reichhardt, PhD

Assistant Professor

Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program
Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program
Plant and Microbial Biosciences Program

Research Abstract:

The overarching goal of the Reichhardt Lab is to discover the fundamental biophysical principles of biofilm assembly. Within biofilms, aggregates of microbes are encased in a mesh-like, biopolymer-rich matrix that promotes microbial cell-cell interactions, adherence to host tissues, and protection from antimicrobials. These properties contribute to biofilms causing difficult-to-treat chronic infections.

Despite the importance of the biofilm matrix, we still do not understand how individual matrix components are assembled into a functional architecture. Since this problem spans several scales-multicellular to atomic-new multidisciplinary approaches are required. Therefore, we are developing approaches that integrate microbiological methods with physical chemistry tools including microscopy and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Overall, our research program aims to provide critical understanding of biofilm assembly, with broader impact on bacterial physiology, materials science, and treatment for chronic infections.

Biofilm matrix dynamics:
Biological materials-including the biofilm matrix-are dynamic, with properties and functions that change in response to environmental cues. We are applying solid-state NMR and microscopy to explore how biofilm matrix interactions change over the course of the biofilm lifecycle.

Integration of host material into biofilms:
An incredibly important feature of biofilm infections is the host environment. However, in general, only self-produced biofilm matrix has been characterized. We are developing solid-state NMR and microscopy approaches to examine total infection-relevant biofilm composition.

Biofilms in CF lung infections:
Material from CF lung infections can be analyzed by solid-state NMR
People with cystic fibrosis (CF) have recurrent lung infections that are thought to be biofilm-involved infections. We are using innovative interdisciplinary approaches to provide critical understanding of biofilm assembly in CF lung infections.

Selected Publications:

Jennings L.K., Dreifus J.E., Reichhardt C., Storek K.M., Secor P.R., Wozniak D.J., Hisert K.B., M.R. Parsek, Pseudomonas aeruginosa aggregates in cystic fibrosis sputum produce exopolysaccharides that likely impede current therapies. Cell Reports 2021, 34, 108782.

Limqueco E., Passos Da Silva D., Reichhardt C., Su F., Das D., Chen J., Srinivasan S., Convertine A., Skerrett S.J., Parsek M.R., Stayton P.S., and Ratner D.M., Mannose conjugated polymer targeting P. aeruginosa biofilms. ACS Infectious Diseases 2020, 6, 2866-2871.

Reichhardt C., Jacobs H.M., Matwichuk M., Wong C., Wozniak D.J., and M.R. Parsek, The versatile Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm matrix protein CdrA promotes aggregation through different extracellular EPS interactions. Journal of Bacteriology 2020, 202, e00216-20.

Reichhardt C. and M.R. Parsek, Confocal laser scanning microscopy for analysis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm architecture and matrix localization. Frontiers Microbiology 2019, 10, 677.

Passos da Silva D., Matwichuk M.L., Townsend D.O., Reichhardt C., Lamba D., Wozniak D.J., and M.R. Parsek, The Pseudomonas aeruginosa lectin LecB binds to Psl and stabilizes the biofilm matrix. Nature Communications 2019, 10, 2183.

Last Updated: 5/3/2021 3:47:50 PM

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