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Dr. Bomberger tries to understand why patients get chronic bacterial lung infections from microbial pathogenesis, especially Cystic Fibrosis patients.

She discusses key elements, such as

  • why lung disease patients lack the effective mucosa latory clearance system of healthy patients,
  • how epithelial cells sequester nutrients and send signals to disrupt viral replication to combat bacterial and viral infections, and
  • why this sequestration led to an understanding of how viral infections might engender chronic biofilms in patients with lung disease. 

Dr. Jennifer Bomberger is an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh in The Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Her lab recently made an important discovery in a microbiology study that may help combat chronic bacterial infection due to biofilm formation in Cystic Fibrosis patients by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa and staphylococcus aureus bacteria. 

First, she explains some basic tenants of microbial pathogenesis, such as whether healthy lungs have microbiomes and how respiratory tracts might expel bacteria. Then, she establishes why patients with Cystic Fibrosis lack these mucosa latory elevator actions and how the composition of their mucus is also a barrier to the fight.

Eventually the toxic substances their immune system emits is ineffective and the toxins end up scaring the lungs instead.

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She then describes the nutrient sequestering the immune system undergoes in healthy patients, how cells may “hide” nutrients like iron from bacteria to fend off the microbial pathogenesis.

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She explains other processes the body undergoes to protect itself and the mechanics of various bacterial and viral infestations.

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Finally, she explains that in her lab’s particular microbiology study, they examined why patients with Cystic Fibrosis tend to get the decade-long bacterial infections soon after a viral infection.

They found that the viral infection process disturbs the body’s ability to undergo this nutrient sequestration.  Now, they continue to study why and how this happens.

For more, see her lab’s web page at

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