School of Medicine
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Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases) and of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMy laboratory studies the strategies pathogens utilize to colonize and subvert the epithelial barrier. We have focused on the epithelial junctions as a target for bacterial pathogens, since the cell-cell junctions serve as both a barrier to infection and also a major control site for epithelial function. In particular, we are interested in how the gastric pathogen Helicobater pylori may cause cancer by interfering with cell signaling at the epithelial junctions. We are also studying how various bacteria cross and invade the epithelium. For example, we recently found that Listeria monocytogenes targets a specialized subset of cell-cell junctions at the tip of the intestinal villi to find its receptor for invasion. We are interested in determining whether this mode of gastrointestinal invasion of the epithelium is also used by other gastrointestinal pathogens.
Ann M. Arvin
Vice Provost and Dean of Research, Lucile Salter Packard Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur laboratory investigates the pathogenesis of varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection, focusing on the functional roles of particular viral gene products in pathogenesis and virus-cell interactions in differentiated human cells in humans and in Scid-hu mouse models of VZV cell tropisms in vivo, and the immunobiology of VZV infections.
Helen M. Blau
The Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation Professor and Director, Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsProf. Helen Blau's research area is regenerative medicine with a focus on stem cells. Her research on nuclear reprogramming and demonstrating the plasticity of cell fate using cell fusion is well known and her laboratory has also pioneered the design of biomaterials to mimic the in vivo microenvironment and direct stem cell fate. Current findings are leading to more efficient iPS generation, cell based therapies by dedifferentiation a la newts, and discovery of novel molecules and therapies.
Professor of Pathology and of Microbiology and Immunology and, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur lab uses chemical, biochemical, and cell biological methods to study protease function in human disease. Projects include:
1) Design and synthesis of novel chemical probes for each of the primary protease families.
2) Understanding the role of proteolysis in the life cycle of the human parasites, Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii.
3) Defining the specific functional roles of proteases during the process of tumorogenesis.
4) In vivo imaging of protease activity
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur lab studies how immune responses are regulated within chronically inflamed or infected tissues. In particular, we study how the extracellular matrix influences local immunity and why these responses are dysregulated in autoimmune diseases, poorly healing wounds, and chronic infections.
We welcome research students with interests in immunology, structural biology, and microbiology.
Burt and Marion Avery Professor of Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsWe are intereseted in the interaction between the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii and its mammalian host. We use a combination of molecular and genetic tools to understand how this obligate intracellular parasite can invade almost any cell it encounters, how it co-opts a host cell once inside and how it evades the immune response to produce a life-long, persistent infection.
Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur research focuses on the identification of host genes that play critical roles in the pathogenesis of infectious agents including viruses. We use haploid genetic screens in human cells as an efficient approach to perform loss-of-function studies. Besides obtaining fundamental insights on how viruses hijack cellular processes and on host defense mechanisms, it may also facilitate the development of new therapeutic strategies.
Chia Yu Alex Chang
Instructor, Microbiology & Immunology - Baxter Laboratory
Instructor, Medicine - Cardiovascular Medicine
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsDuchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-chromosome-linked genetic disease that is caused by a mutation in the dystrophin gene and affects 1 in every 3500 boys. DMD patients suffer progressive muscle wasting and eventual cardiorespiratory failure that results in an early death in the second or third decade of life. Although extensive research effort has been invested, lack of a good mouse model that mimics the cardiac failure hinders research. We have developed a novel mouse model that exhibit all the symptoms found in DMD patients and our research is aimed at understanding the cardiac failure in DMD for future therapeutic interventions. Our mouse model fully recapitulates the DMD symptoms because we also took into account of the size of human protection DNA on chromosomal ends (telomere) compared to mouse. We would like to study the cause of cardiac failure in our mouse model by 1) determine if telomere shortening is specific to cardiomyocytes, 2) evaluate the level of cellular damage caused by oxidative stress and 3) identify the source of oxidative stress. These experiments will help us to better understand cardiac failure in DMD patients and allow testing of therapeutic interventions.
Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsContribution of T cells to immunocompetence and autoimmunity; how the immune system clears infection, avoids autoimmunity and how infection impacts on the development of immune responses.