To decipher the largely uncharacterized mechanisms underlying dissemination of the Lyme disease pathogen and other invasive bacteria, in an effort to develop alternative therapeutic approaches for treating bacterial infection.
We are an infectious diseases research laboratory studying several fundamental mechanisms underlying blood borne dissemination of bacterial pathogens. The major model organism we study is Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease.
Disseminated, invasive disease is responsible for most of the mortality associated with bacterial infections. The dissemination mechanisms of many pathogens, including Borrelia, are not yet well understood. We study multiple features of dissemination, using a wide range of techniques from genetics, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics and physiology, as well as powerful live cell imaging approaches for investigating the molecular basis of dissemination in vivo.
1) Vascular adhesion mechanisms of blood borne microbes
2) Mechanisms coordinating vascular adhesion and motility in disseminating spirochetes
3) Roles of chemotaxis and motility in Borrelia dissemination
4) Role of diet-induced obesity in enhanced host susceptibility to disseminated Lyme disease
5) Development of intravital imaging methods for studying periodontal disease and its association with cardiovascular disease
6) Development of microfluidic transmembrane devices for studies of bacterial extravasation and screening for dissemination inhibitors
Please see our Projects page for further details.