Key words: Host pathogen, virulence
My lab is interested in defining critical events that determine the outcome of an infection. Pathogenic bacteria employ a variety of virulence strategies to modulate their host to establish growth and avoid killing by host innate immune response. To do this, we use Legionella pneumophila pathogenesis as a model system to define the minimal requirements for intracellular replication of bacterial pathogens and the mechanisms by which they avoid detection and eradication by host antimicrobial defenses. Many of the virulence mechanisms employed by bacteria evolve through the interaction with natural predators in the environment. In parallel, we are investigating how virulence strategies arise in environmental reservoirs as a consequence of bacterial growth within amoebae and the impact of these natural hosts in driving bacterial transmission to humans. Through this work we aim to define new strategies to prevent and treat disease.
Profile: Publications and Interests