Infectious disease remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality world-wide. Highly pathogenic strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose a serious threat to world health. In New Zealand, Maori and Pacific Island peoples, the young and the elderly continue to be over-represented in the levels of morbidity and mortality due to common infections. The advent of whole-organism genomics provides unprecedented access to the inner workings of microbes, and offers new opportunity to understand the interactions between host and microbe, yielding discoveries that will translate to new or improved treatments. This programme focuses on understanding the mechanisms of virulence and persistence of three important human pathogens - Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes and Mycobacterium tuberculosis and aims to develop protective drugs and vaccines.