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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Azcarate-Peril, M. Andrea
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Nutrition

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Bioinformatics, Genomics, Molecular Biology, Systems Biology

We are interested in determining the mechanisms involved in the beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota by prebiotics (functional foods that stimulate growth of gut native beneficial bacteria) and probiotics (live bacteria that benefit their host). Specifically, we aim to develop prebiotic and probiotic interventions as alternatives to traditional treatments for microbiota-health related conditions, and to advance microbiota-based health surveillance methods.

Goldman, William
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Immunology, Pathogenesis & Infection

Successful respiratory pathogens must be able to respond swiftly to a wide array of sophisticated defense mechanisms in the mammalian lung.  In histoplasmosis, macrophages — a first line of defense in the lower respiratory tract — are effectively parasitized by Histoplasma capsulatum.  We are studying this process by focusing on virulence factors produced as this “dimorphic” fungus undergoes a temperature-triggered conversion from a saprophytic mold form to a parasitic yeast form.  Yersinia pestis also displays two temperature-regulated lifestyles, depending on whether it is colonizing a flea or mammalian host.  Inhalation by humans leads to a rapid and overwhelming disease, and we are trying to understand the development of pneumonic plague by studying genes that are activated during the stages of pulmonary colonization.

Duncan, Alex
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pharmacology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Cell Signaling, Immunology, Pathogenesis & Infection

My lab studies a recently identified pathogen-sensing signaling complex known as the inflammasome. The inflammasome is responsible for the proteolytic maturation of some cytokines and induces a novel necrotic cell death program. We have found that critical virulence factors from certain pathogens are able to activate NLRP3-mediated signaling, suggesting these pathogens may exploit this host signaling system in order to promote infections.  Our lab has active research projects in several areas relating to inflammasome signaling ranging from understanding basic molecular mechanisms of the pathway to studying the role of the system in animal models of infectious diseases.

de Silva, Aravinda
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Pathogenesis & Infection

We study Borrelia burgdorferi (the agent of Lyme disease) as a model for understanding arthropod vector-borne disease transmission. We also study the epidemiology and pathogenesis of dengue viruses associated with hemorrhagic disease.

Cotter, Peggy
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Pathogenesis & Infection

Dr. Cotter’s research is aimed at understanding molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis. Using Bordetella species as models, her group is studying the role of virulence gene regulation in respiratory pathogenesis, how virulence factors activate and suppress inflammation in the respiratory tract, and how proteins of the Two Partner Secretion pathway family are secreted to the bacterial surface and into the extracellular environment. A second major project is focused on Burkholderia pseudomallei, an emerging infectious disease and potential biothreat agent. This research is aimed at understanding the role of autotransporter proteins in the ability of this organism to cause disease via the respiratory route.

Braunstein, Miriam
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Genetics, Immunology, Pathogenesis & Infection, Pathology

Our research focuses on understanding the virulence mechanisms of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium responsible for the disease tuberculosis.

Bourret, Bob
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Genetics, Structural Biology

Our long-term goal is to define the molecular mechanisms of two-component regulatory systems, which are utilized for signal transduction by bacteria, archaea, eukaryotic microorganisms, and plants. Our current focus is to identify and understand the features that control the rates of several different types of protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation reactions. The kinetics of phosphotransfer reactions can vary dramatically between different pathways and reflect the need to synchronize biological responses (e.g. behavior, development, physiology, virulence) to environmental stimuli. Member of the Molecular & Cellular Biophysics Training Program.

Matson, Steven
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Cancer Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology

Research in our laboratory is focused on the enzymatic mechanisms and biological roles of DNA helicases which convert duplex DNA to ssDNA for use as a template in DNA replication and repair or as a substrate in recombination.  Defects in genes encoding DNA helicases have been linked to genomic instability leading to a variety of progeriod disorders and human cancers. Our long-range goal is to understand the mechanism of action of helicases and to define their roles in DNA metabolism. The lab also has an interest in the process of DNA transfer by bacterial conjugation – the unidirectional and horizontal transmission of genetic information from one cell to another. Conjugative DNA transfer plays a role in increasing genetic diversity in addition to propagating the spread of antibiotic resistance and microbial virulence factors. Our long-range goal is to define the function and regulation of the relaxosome, and each protein in this nucleoprotein complex, in conjugative DNA transfer.

Miller, Virginia L.
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Genetics, Pathogenesis & Infection

Molecular genetic analysis of virulence of Yersinia and Klebsiella: My laboratory uses Yersinia enterocolitica, Y. pestis, and Klebsiella as model systems to study bacterial pathogenesis. The long-term goals of our work are to understand the bacteria-host interaction at the molecular level to learn how this interaction affects the pathogenesis of infections and to understand how these pathogens co-ordinate the expression of virulence determinants during an infection. To do this we use genetic, molecular and immunological approaches in conjunction with the mouse model of infection.

Nicholas, Robert A.
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Pharmacology

My laboratory has two main interests: 1) Regulation of P2Y receptor signaling and trafficking in epithelial cells and platelets. Our laboratory investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which P2Y receptors are differentially targeted to distinct membrane surfaces of polarized epithelial cells and the regulation of P2Y receptor signaling during ADP-promoted platelet aggregation. 2) Antibiotic resistance mechanisms. We investigate the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in the pathogenic bacterium, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Our laboratory investigates how acquisition of mutant alleles of existing genes confers resistance to penicillin and cephalosporins. We also study the biosynthesis of the gonococcal Type IV pilus and its contribution to antibiotic resistance.