Here in the Molecular Biology Department we recognize that elucidation of the mechanisms of infectious disease will only result from the understanding of the specific interactions between pathogen and host cells. Our current research focuses on the understanding of molecular and cellular foundations of these complex, subtle and dynamic liaisons.
Taking a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses cell biology, functional genomics, proteomics and epigenetics, we are using extracellular (Helicobacter, Neisseria), obligate intracellular (Chlamydia), facultative (Legionella, Salmonella) and viral (Influenza) pathogen models to advance our understanding of the pathogen-host tet-a-tet. Emphasis is placed on the interface between host and pathogen to understand bacterial virulence mechanisms, receptor-mediated interactions with host target cells, pathogen induced host cell signaling events, and the strategies and underlying mechanisms facilitating pathogen survival and replication within its host.
Furthermore, these investigations are helping us to understand the role of infection and inflammation in cancerogenesis and cell degeneration and aiding the development of vaccines and identification of novel drug targets. To achieve our scientific goals, cutting edge investigative techniques are being employed enabling pathogen genetics, high resolution live- cell microscopy, as well as functional gene analysis using RNA interference, alongside other global approaches. We stand at the precipice of elucidation and understanding that may provide the possibility of tangible solutions to current and future worldwide infectious diseases and their associated symptoms.