The R.E.W. Hancock Laboratory is developing new approaches to fight infectious diseases, particularly by investigating alternatives to conventional antibiotics.

Infectious diseases are responsible for a third of all deaths on the planet, are currently the third leading cause of human deaths in North America, and also have a major impact on agriculture and food safety.

However, current therapeutic approaches based on antibiotics are under severe threat due to antibiotic resistance and the dearth (and ineffectiveness) of antibiotic discovery programs worldwide.

Our research touches on the following themes to address the growing antibiotic resistance problem:

Molecular structure of IDR

The development of novel broad-spectrum therapeutic strategies for infections and inflammation

Based on the selectively immune modulatory and anti-biofilm activities of host defence (antimicrobial) peptides (HDP) and their synthetic innate defence regulator (IDR) analogs. We are also applying reverse vaccinology methods to develop new vaccines for cattle diseases.

Micrograph photo of HBE cell monolayer

Utilizing functional genomic and bioinformatics studies to define the innate immunity/inflammatory network

Investigating the Network Biology of inflammatory diseases (especially sepsis, cystic fibrosis, vasculitis, infections, etc), immunomodulatory interventions (e.g. IDR peptides, childhood vaccinations), and homozygously mutated mouse and human stem cells after conversion into macrophages.

Image of Pseudomonas lux plates

Understanding adaptive lifestyles, especially adaptive multi-drug antibiotic resistance and virulence

Using functional genomic methods, particularly for the prominent nosocomial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.