Bacterial Pathogenesis

Terry D. Connell, PhD, involves students at all levels in his lab. He studies molecular mechanisms by which adherent-invasive Escherichia coli induce, exacerbate or prolong symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease.

Our research on bacterial pathogens focuses primarily on how these simple, single-celled organisms successfully cause disease. We study the pathogenesis in different host tissues of both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms.

Understanding and Fighting Pathogens

Our biofilm research is contributing to a better understanding of otitis media, a common middle ear disease affecting young children. We focus on two major bacterial causes: Moraxella catarrhalis and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

We also are exploring novel treatments for orthopedic and prosthetic infections due to antibiotic-resistant biofilms that form after knee and hip replacements and limb amputations. We are working to define optimal antimicrobial parameters to help fight multiple pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter baumannii, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Our work on the immunobiology of Neisseria gonorrhoeae may lead to novel strategies for vaccine development against gonorrhea.

We are analyzing the genetic factors that enable four pathogenic species of Bordetellae to scavenge iron — an essential nutrient for their survival — from host tissues. Our findings could pave the way for possible new therapies against upper respiratory tract infections.

In addition, we are exploring molecular mechanisms of DNA replication, repair and error-prone damage tolerance functions in Escherichia coli bacteria.

Our researchers also are studying mechanisms that contribute to DNA mutation processes in the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which causes illness and death in cystic fibrosis patients.

Research News


Elsa Bou Ghanem, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology, is conducting a four-year study on how white blood cells function against bacterial infections.


A total of 37 original research projects from aspiring physician-scientists were on display at the 2018 Medical Student Research Forum.


At the 2017 Medical Student Research Forum, aspiring physician-scientists showcased 46 original research projects they conducted at the University at Buffalo, its partner health care agencies and institutions nationwide.


Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, senior associate dean for research and graduate education, is exploring the novel use of photodynamic therapy (PDT) as a noninvasive treatment for otitis media (OM) or middle ear infections.

Learn More

Department Faculty

Armbruster, Chelsie
Chelsie Armbruster, PhD
Assistant Professor

Bou Ghanem, Elsa
Elsa Bou Ghanem, PhD
Assistant Professor

Campagnari, Anthony
Anthony Campagnari, PhD
Professor of Microbiology/Immunology and Medicine

Connell, Terry
Terry Connell, PhD
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Adjunct Professor of Oral Biology