Our lab investigates the molecular basis of host–pathogen interactions in the human respiratory tract. Most of our studies focus on the pathogenesis of Streptococcus pneumoniae because of its prominence as a cause of acute respiratory tract infection. Other pathogens under investigation in our laboratory include Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and influenza A virus.
Many of our research projects focus on colonization of the upper airway mucosa, the initial step in the disease process, with particular interest in both host and pathogen factors affecting colonization. We employ bacterial genetics to examine the effects of specific microbial genes, along with mouse models of colonization to study infection in genetically modified hosts.
Ongoing projects in our lab include examinations of the following:
mechanisms by which colonizing microbes stimulate and evade innate and adaptive immune responses
mechanisms that facilitate interspecies competition within a host
factors affecting competition between co-colonizing pneumococci
effects of influenza co-infection on bacterial colonization
pneumococcal interaction with neutrophils and macrophages and evasion of clearance by professional phagocytes
the role of phosphorylcholine, a surface constituent of many respiratory tract inhabitants, in pathogenesis
host and bacterial factors affecting shedding and host-to-host transmission
the systemic effects of colonizing flora (microbiota) on innate immunity
Jan T. Vilcek Professor of Molecular Pathogenesis, Department of Microbiology
Chair, Department of Microbiology
MD from Harvard University
Fellowship, Oxford University, Oxford, UK, Lab of E.R. Moxon
Fellowship, Rockefeller University, New York, NY, Lab of E.C. Gotschlich
Residency, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Pediatrics
Infection & immunity. 2018 Jan 8; ?-?
PLoS pathogens. 2017 Dec 21; 13(12):e1006665-e1006665
MBio. 2017 Aug 22; 8(4):?-?
MBio. 2017 Mar 14; 8(2):?-?
Cell host & microbe. 2017 Jan 11; 21(1):73-83
Microaspiration Murine Model With Non-Pathogenic S. Pneumoniae Results In "like Will To Like" Microbiota Phenomenon [Meeting Abstract]
American journal of respiratory & critical care medicine. 2017; 195:?-?
Mucosal immunology. 2016 Aug 31; 10(2):385-394
Blood. 2016 May 19; 127(20):2460-2471