The research focus of this laboratory is on the immune response to and cell biology of Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite which is perhaps the most common parasitic infection of humans causes congenital disease in the newborn and is a major opportunistic infection in those with AIDS. Our research effort has been directed at understanding the interaction between the parasite and its host. Toxoplasma is able to stimulate both a host protective response and downregulate the immune system in order to survive. Our long term effort is to understand the mechanims of innate immunity to this opportunistic pathogen and how the host protects itself against recurrent chronic infection.
The second major area of interest is understanding the process of attachment, parasite replication and egress from the infected host cell. A variety of immunologic and molecular approaches are utilized to decipher these events during invasion and internalization.