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Laboratory of Intracellular Parasites

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The Laboratory of Intracellular Parasites (LICP) investigates the biology, pathogenesis, and immunity of intracellular prokaryotic pathogens such as Chlamydia, Coxiella, Francisella, Rickettsia, and Salmonella. These agents are important causes of sexually transmitted disease, blindness, enteric infections, and they are also Category A and B bioterrorism agents. The long-term goal of the laboratory is to define virulence factors important to the pathogenesis of infection and to translate this information into new and effective control strategies against intracellular bacterial infections.

Contemporary biological, molecular, genetic and immunological tools are employed to understand pathogen ligand-receptor interactions, pathogen vesicle maturation and trafficking, parasite manipulation of host cell signal transduction pathways, and host immune response to infection. Pathogen and host gene expression are being analyzed at the transcriptome and proteome levels under experimental conditions that manifest both acute and persistent infection environments to profile novel pathogen genes that function in the pathogenesis of infection. Animal models of infection are being employed to define immune effector mechanisms that function in adaptive protective immunity and to test promising vaccine candidates.

Sections and Units

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Major Areas of Research

  • Pathogen occupied vacuole maturation and trafficking
  • Pathogen manipulation of host cell signal transduction pathways
  • Functional characterization of secreted pathogen effector proteins
  • Genomic approaches for virulence factor discovery
  • Host innate and adaptive immune responses to infection
  • Vaccine design and development

Last Updated May 01, 2013