Pablo Bifani completed his PhD at the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, New York University, USA, in 2000, on the Molecular Epidemiology of Drug Resistance Mycobacterium tuberculosis. He continued his work on tuberculosis at the Pasteur Institute of Lille, France as a postdoctoral fellow in 2000-2001. From 2001 to 2004, he was a Principal Investigator at the Pasteur Institute of Lille and the Scientific Director for Europe of Regma/ PhageGen working on tuberculosis (TB) and anthrax Phage Therapy and Diagnostics. In 2005, he established the Laboratory of Molecular Pathology of Mycobacteria at the Pasteur Institute of Brussels, Belgium (currently the Institute of Public Health). He joined Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) in Singapore in 2008, where he first led the TB drug discovery “Hit to Lead” team, and in 2011, he established and headed the Malaria Biology team until 2017. Since 2017, Pablo holds joint appointments as Associate Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS), Principal Investigator at the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), A*STAR, as well as Associate Professor in the Department of Infection Biology in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), U.K. In 2020, he moved to the newly founded A*STAR Infectious Diseases Labs (A*STAR ID Labs). 

Main Appointments

Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology (December 2017 – Present) 
Research Director, Translational Research Programme in Infectious Diseases, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (2020 - Present

Joint Appointments 

Principal Investigator, A*STAR Infectious Diseases Lab (A*STAR ID Labs), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore (2020 – Present)
Principal Investigator, Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore (2017 – 2020)
Associate Professor, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Department of Infection Biology, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom (2018 – Present)

Research Focus 

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) remains to be one of the largest public health issues facing the 21st century which greatly impedes infectious disease control. Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria contribute heavily to the global infectious disease burden and are leading causes of morbidity and mortality. In contrast to the pathogenic properties of TB and malaria, Klebsiella pneumoniae is an opportunistic Enterobacteriaceae pathogen which is usually asymptomatic colonizers in a healthy host. In the last decade, multidrug resistant K. pneumonia has emerged as a major global public health problem and is a prominent member of the notorious ESKAPE pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter spp.), a group of multidrug resistant pathogens responsible for the majority of hospital-acquired infections.

The primary interests of the laboratory are to better understand the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance with the ultimate goal of developing more predictive screening assays for drug discovery. With this aim in mind, we pivot between “drug target and mechanisms of drug resistance”, “molecular epidemiology” and “drug discovery”. Putative mechanisms of drug resistance are evaluated in collections of clinical isolates, and in contrast, molecular patterns recognized in clinical isolates are evaluated for drug resistance. The information acquired allows for the development of more predictive screening assays for drug discovery. We use Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium abscessus as well as Klebsiella and Acinetobacter species as bacterial models. In parallel, we use the malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium cynomolgi as parasitic models. 

The secondary interest of our laboratory is in Bacteriophage Diagnostics and Therapy for rapid identification and treatment of bacterial infections in the clinical setting, particularly in AMR infections.

Current Projects 

  • Understanding mechanisms of resistance and action of antituberculars
  • Bacterial fitness of rifampicin resistant TB
  • Developing models to study drug resistance and virulence in Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter
  • Establishing a model to study antimalarials and drug discovery using the simian malaria parasite Plasmodium cynomolgi as a surrogate for Plasmodium vivax
  • Establishing Reporter Phages for rapid Identification of bacterial detection in Phage Diagnostics
  • Understanding mechanism of Phage-Bacteria specificity to aid in Phage Therapy

Lab Members

Postdocs (PhD)  Research Officers PhD/Undergraduate Students
Stacey-Ann LEE  Jun Hao LIEW

 Lalit MOHAN