Programs: Immunology, Molecular Microbiology
- AB, Human Biology, Brown University
- MD, Brown University
Our laboratory studies host-pathogen interactions of the organisms Borrelia burgdorferi and Porphyromonas gingivalis. For B. burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, the laboratory is interested in both how the organism responds and adapts to its changing environments, as well as the impact of the host immune response on manifestations of disease. There are currently several major areas of research in the laboratory focused on B. burgdorferi. The projects are: 1) understanding the mechanisms by which the organism escapes innate and adaptive immunity to establish long-term infection; 2) discovering the components of intracellular control of innate immune responses to infection with B. burgdorferi and how innate immune tolerance by the host contributes to bacterial persistence; 3) strategies for reducing the carriage of B. burgdorferi in its wild-life reservoirs as a strategy for decreasing human disease; 4) development of novel human vaccines. For our work on P. gingivalis, the laboratory is interested in understanding how different members of the oral microbial community and probiotic bacteria can interact with P. gingivalis to mitigate its role in periodontitis.