Current Research and Scholarly Interests
We study innate immunity and microbial pathogenesis. We have been studying models for a variety of bacterial infections including: Listeria, Mycobacteria, Salmonella and Streptococcus as well as some fungi, malaria and viruses. Our current focus is to determine how we recover from infections.
We are using a new approach to study the outcome of infections. We are starting by plotting health by microbe number over the course of infections. This produces characteristic phase plots that we think can be used to predict the outcome of infections and to define appropriate treatments. We like to assess "health" in whole animals rather than in vitro but we use a large range of tools ranging from genetics, to microarray analyses to flow cytometry.
We focus on two models. We recently started working on a mouse model for malaria in which we follow the progress of a Plasmodium chabaudi infection. We are making extremely mutlivariate plots of the disease process. Our goal is to define "biovectors" that predict the outcome of infection and to identify the physiological mechanisms required for recovery from infections.
We continue to work on fruit flies as a model for microbial pathogenesis. Here we take advantage of the spectacularly deep genetic tools available to Drosophila geneticists to discover mechanisms involved in pathogenesis and the recovery from infections.