- BS, Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
- PhD, Microbiology & Immunology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Immunosenescence, the decline in immune function with age, is associated with an enhanced occurrence of severe infections in the elderly. One example of a bacterial pathogen that disproportionately causes disease in aged individuals is Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). Asymptomatic colonization of the human nasopharynx by S. pneumoniae is common, but the spread of bacteria to other tissues, such as the lung, causes disease. In an aged host, lung infection can be quite severe and fatal. While this enhanced severity of pneumococcal pneumonia likely results from immune dysfunction, the specific factors responsible are not well understood. My research aims to understand age-associated immune defects underlying severe pneumococcal pneumonia.