On a cellular basis, microorganisms outnumber human cells ten to one, and many scientists emphasize the importance of including these microbial cells and their genes when considering the genetic machinery available in our bodies. Indeed, the human body can be considered a “super-organism” or composite of human and microbial cells. The microbial communities that populate human tissue surfaces can vary greatly between individuals. Even different regions of the same organ (such as skin) can have very different microbial profiles. These microbes and their genes (the microbiome) can be seen as a modifiable environmental or genetic factor that influences human health. Recent advances in biomedical technologies, such as high throughput sequencing, have opened the door to truly characterizing these previously unseen effects on human health.
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Current studies include development of methods for T-cell based sieve analysis, quantification of vaccine induced T cell responses, systems biology of influenza and time-dependent correlates analysis of HIV efficacy trial.
Determining how changes in microbial communities impact human health; identifying, characterizing, and culturing microbes found in the human genital tract; and associating the reproductive tract microbiome with human disease.
Developing molecular diagnostic tests to detect and identify pathogens in immunocompromised hosts such as cancer patients.
Development of synthetic microbiology-based applications to overturn the restrictive paradigm of bacterial genetic intractability and facilitate fundamental understanding of virulence mechanisms in oral/systemic disease.
HIV and tuberculosis (Tb) vaccine research and development, human challenge experiments, microbiome modulation of immunity, immune activation—polymicrobial infections, combination HIV prevention, malaria clinical trials/vaccines and molecular epidemiology
Natural Killer Cell Receptor Diversity and CMV in Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation; Viral infections after Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation; Epidemiology of invasive Fungal infections in Cord Blood Transplant Recipients and Clinical trials of the prevention of post-transplant infection
Interest in describing the quantitative and dynamical features of human pathogens and immune responses. Most of work to-date is on the pathogenesis of HSV-2 infection but also interested in applying models to optimize viral eradication strategies, and to use models to capture kinetic features of the human microbiome.
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