Research/Areas of Interest:
My lab focuses on understanding mucosal acquisition of HIV in women. In particular, we are interested in defining the early innate immune responses that protect against infection in the female genital mucosa, and how these responses are modified as women age. Our studies integrate the many aspects that influence mucosal protection in the genital tract, including age, hormonal fluctuations, tissue environment and pathogen/microbiome exposure, which make the study of this mucosal surface unique and challenging. Our research is currently focused on two main projects characterizing the role of tissue neutrophils and dendritic cells in mucosal HIV acquisition. Our overarching goal is to aid the development of HIV prevention strategies by identifying the critical immune protective mechanisms against HIV infection in the mucosa.