Cave Microbiology Lab
Our research interests include cave microbiology and drug discovery, white-nose syndrome in bats, antibiotic resistance, and microbiology education. Our research has primarily centered on microbial diversity, microbial secondary metabolites production, and searching for potential natural products and bioactive compounds. Research questions that our laboratory is addressing have focused on whether new drugs with the different mode of actions and with new scaffolds can be found in rare/less-intensive-studied microorganisms living in extreme habitats (i.e., in caves)? Besides drug discovery aspect of our research, other research questions include cave bacterial diversity, adaptation, relationship, and evolution. In the long run, we would like to be able to connect the dots in cave microbial study, how the microorganisms survive in such hypogenic and dark environments for years and what traits they need to have to thrive in such habitats. How about the relationships amongst other species in the same habitats? And can we use all the information gathered to answer its evolutionary patterns? Recently, our lab has been working on developing probiotics to help prevent bats from white-nose syndrome.
Upcoming keynote talk at the 2019 Wired Health Conference, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK https://www.wired.co.uk/partnerships/wired-health/speakers
In the media
1) Dr. Cheeptham’s work was highlighted and published on Ever Widening Circles, the website that curates brilliant/positive content around the web. Here’s the link to the article: https://everwideningcircles.com/2019/02/05/combing-caves-for-our-cure/
2) Dr. Cheeptham and her students were interviewed and featured by SEEKER in a YOUTUBE video entitled “Is the cure for superbugs hiding deep under the earth? Posted January 21, 2019
3) Dr. Cheeptham was interviewed and featured by Kate Baggaley, science writer/reporter of the Popular Science website (popsci.com) on a story entitled “Scientists are spelunking for cave gunk to fight superbugs” on Monday May 14, 2017. Online on May 23, 2017 http://www.popsci.com/superbug-antibiotic-cave