Bacteria and host interactions; immune evasion; microbes and cancer.
This lab is interested in the broad area of bacterial-host interactions. The manifestation and progression of infectious diseases are determined by the combined effects of actions of bacterial factors and host reactions to the bacteria. Furthermore, some of the bacterial – host interactions may cause alterations in host physiological or cellular processes that can contribute to other types of diseases including immune disorders and cancer. Currently there are two lines of research in the lab.
1. Bacterial manipulation of the complement system. The complement system is not only the first line of defense against microorganisms, but also links the innate immune system to the adaptive immune system. It is not surprising that manipulation of the complement system is a strategy commonly adopted by bacterial pathogens. Research in lab demonstrated that spores of Bacillus anthracis, a Gram-positive bacterium that causes anthrax, actively recruit components of the complement system. The goals are to understand the molecular mechanism of the interactions and the precise biological functions of the interactions. The lab is also interested in other bacterial pathogens that may possess a similar strategy of complement manipulation as that of B. anthracis.
2. Microbes in colon cancer. The goal is to understand the relationship between certain bacterial pathogens and colon cancer. In vitro culture systems and animal models are utilized in the research.