Cara Haney

Canada Research Chair in Molecular mechanisms in host-microbiome interactions

Tier 2 - 2016-04-01
Renewed: 2021-04-01
The University of British Columbia
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

(617) 756-5424

Coming to Canada From

Harvard University, USA

Research involves

Uncovering the genetic and environmental mechanisms that regulate host-microbiome interactions

Research relevance

This research will facilitate understanding how an individual's genetics and environment determine their microbiome community composition and predisposition for associated diseases.

Research summary

Free-living bacteria don’t need to create symbiotic relationships with plants to survive and replicate. But to cause infection, these bacteria must sense the presence of a host and activate virulence mechanisms (which determine their ability to infect and cause damage). While virulence has been studied extensively, it is largely unknown how bacteria sense the presence of a host and decide to transition from free-living to pathogenic. As Canada Research Chair in Molecular Mechanisms in Host-microbiome Interactions, Dr. Cara Haney hopes to fill in this knowledge gap.

Using genetic and genomic approaches, Haney and her research team are studying host-associated Pseudomonas spp., a bacterium that often causes respiratory infections. They have identified genes in this bacterium that enable it to cause disease by sensing and persisting in both plant and mammalian hosts. Ultimately, their research could lead to new treatments for bacterial illnesses by shedding light on how microbes transition from free-living to pathogenic.