Chronic, non-healing wounds are a major medical issue afflicting the diabetic, elderly, and wounded military populations. A major reason these wounds fail to heal is because the wounds are colonized by bacterial biofilms that are resistant to therapeutic treatment. Treatment of bacterial biofilms in the wound is complicated by the very character of the biofilm mode of growth, including increased resistance of the biofilm to antimicrobial treatments and host immune defense.
Bacterial cells growing in biofilms utilize unique metabolic strategies when compared to bacteria grown in liquid cultures. Our goal is to understand how the unique metabolic strategy of bacteria grown as a biofilm can influence how the immune system functions in a chronic wound. Innate immune cells called macrophages can affect wound healing by either producing factors that promote an inflammatory response or promote wound healing and a better understanding of the underlying metabolic and molecular mechanisms influencing non-healing in these wounds will hopefully provide novel targets for innovations in wound care.