When the human body is threatened with infection, pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) act as important sentinels of cell health, causing inflammation when activated. But abnormal activation of these receptors can lead to serious health issues. Dr. Amit Bhavsar, Canada Research Chair in Pattern Recognition Receptor Pathophysiology, has discovered that abnormal PRR signalling is a factor in hearing loss caused by treatment with cisplatin (a chemotherapy drug to treat many cancers in children) and Salmonella infection.
Now, he and his research team are putting this knowledge to work to develop tools to predict and prevent cisplatin-induced hearing loss. They are also using their discovery that a Salmonella protein subverts PRR signalling to develop antimicrobial strategies that help prevent antibiotic resistance. Their research could lead to precision health treatments that avoid hearing loss in children and reduce bacterial infection while minimizing the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.