Current research topics in the lab include:
- Identifying the molecular determinants of virulence of Babesia duncani and Babesia microti. We use mouse crosses, controlled infection and whole genome sequencing to identify specific host factors that play critical roles in Babesia virulence and pathogenesis.
- Understanding how Babesia parasites residing within human red blood cells deliver their secreted proteins to the mammalian host and how these proteins interact with the immune system of the host. Our lab discovered two main mechanisms by which Babesia parasites secrete their proteins: vesicular and non-vesicular mediated protein secretion. Our current efforts aim to identify the molecular signatures and machineries employed by these parasites to achieve successful delivery of their antigens into the host.
- Developing molecular tools for large scale functional analysis of parasite genomes.
- Using yeast as a model system to study the function and druggabality of pathogen targets.
Translational Medicine Program
Our translational medicine program builds upon the findings of our basic research efforts. Current investigations include:
- Antigen discovery and vaccine development with a specific focus on the human pathogens Babesia microti and Babesia duncani.
- Development of novel classes of antibabesial, antimalarial and antifungal drugs that target unique metabolic pathways essential for pathogen survival and virulence.
- Development of diagnostic assays for detection of active parasite infections.
Antifungal Agents; Babesiosis; Malaria; Opportunistic Infections; Protozoan Infections; Diagnostic Techniques and Procedures; Infectious Disease Medicine; Drug Discovery; Translational Research, Biomedical