Scientist, Division of Infectious Diseases, Brigham & Women’s Hospital; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Colette Cywes-Bentley, Ph.D., is a Scientist in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Dr. Cywes-Bentley’s research focuses on understanding host pathogen interactions, specifically with regards to surface polysaccharides, as possible therapeutic targets to prevent acute and chronic disease. Dr. Cywes-Bentley started her professional career as a therapeutic dietician before embarking on her doctoral studies in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Cywes-Bentley studied how Mycobacterium tuberculosis, by using a surface polysaccharide to engage cell receptors, exploit human immune cell defenses, at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. After receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Cywes-Bentley did her post-doctoral studies at the Channing Laboratory, BWH, investigating group A streptococcus surface polysaccharide, hyaluronic acid, interactions with host epithelia. She has remained at the BWH in the Department of Medicine, within the Division of Infectious Diseases where she is an assistant professor. Her current research focuses on broadly expressed microbial surface polysaccharide, poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG) as both an exposed microbial structure that can be targeted by PNAG-specific antibodies to prevent or treat acute infections, without the risk of developing antimicrobial resistance, and as a sterile inflammatory nidus that contributes to chronic inflammation, including neuroinflammation, underlying multiple neurodegenerative diseases.