Tick-borne diseases are a growing public health threat and pose a substantial burden on affected communities. Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the Northern Hemisphere and has now reached epidemic proportions in several locations in United States and Europe. The disease can present with a range of clinical manifestations which vary in severity and duration, including certain complications that persist despite antibiotic therapy for the infection, termed post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms / syndrome (PTLDS). However, the reasons for these differences in disease course and outcome are poorly understood.
Our laboratory conducts translational research in human immunology with a focus on Lyme disease. The work is centered on elucidating mechanisms that lead to protective or pathogenic immune responses and how such responses shape the clinical course and outcome of the disease in patients. In addition, we are determining how host and microbial (Borrelia burgdorferi) genetic factors modulate these responses. For this purpose, we are using the latest system-wide genomic and transcriptomic approaches in clinical samples, coupled with functional studies in cells and tissue, and then correlating this information with well-defined clinical information in patients. The goals of this work are to improve the understanding of disease pathogenesis, to develop novel diagnostic assays for early identification of patients at greater risk for severe disease, and to help guide more rational and effective treatment strategies for such patients. This work involves a multi-center collaboration with investigators across United States and Europe.
PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US, 2007
MS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US, 2001
BS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US, 1999