I am currently studying colony variation of the Gram negative soil bacterium and pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei. B.pseudomallei is a dangerous pathogen, it is the sole etiological agent of the disease known as melioidosis. B.pseudomallei is responsible for up to 20% of community-acquired septicemias in Thailand and northern Australia where the disease is endemic, and the disease is extremely resistant to antibiotics, with mortality often above 40%. Studies of bacteria isolated from melioidosis patients show that B.pseudomallei adopt a wide variety of colony variants in vivo and that these colony variants are significantly resistant to a variety of different insults. We have developed an in vitro tube model of anaerobic survival which we believe is relevant to the chronic melioidosis disease state and this in vitro model produces a striking colony variant that is the subject of my attention lately.
I am also interested in anaerobic survival of Burkholderia pseudomallei & Burkholderia mallei as well as what is known as phenotypic persistence especially with regards to B.pseudomallei.