Associate Professor of Microbiology
Department of Microbiology
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
303C Johnson Pavilion
3610 Hamilton Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6076
Admin Asst: 215-573-2890
We are interested in understanding how the microbial virulence strategies
affect the nature and magnitude of the host response and how the resulting
immune response influences the course of infection. We use the intracellular
bacterium Listeria monocytogenes as a model and employ a multidisciplinary
approach that combines recent technical and conceptual advances in molecular
genetics, microbial pathogenesis, cell biology and immunology. By genetic manipulation
of both the microbe and the murine host, we are investigating how various immune
effectors counter different microbial virulence factors. We are studying the
mechanisms by which bacterial virulence factors down-modulate the immune response.
We are also identifying different aspects of bacterial antigens that influence
their ability to induce a T cell response and to serve as a protective target.
Through these studies, we hope to identify new immune correlates of protection
and understand the mechanisms that help establishing or disturbing the immunological
We are also applying our expertise in cellular immunology and microbial pathogenesis
to study emerging pathogens and bioterror agents. We are identifying T cell
epitopes in Ebola and examining how the soluble glycoprotein (sGP) of Ebola
may interfere with the ability of dendritic cells to prime T cell responses.
We are studying the early immune response to the pulmonary form of anthrax
infection and investigating the role of microbial phospholipases and hemolysin
in modulating the host response. The long-term objective of our studies is
to provide a platform for rational design of effective vaccines to combat today’s
complex infectious diseases and potential bioterror threats.