Pathogenic Salmonella strains cause food poisoning, gastrointestinal inflammation, typhoid fever, and septicemia in humans. The bacteria achieve this by making a panel of specialized proteins that allows it to invade non-phagocytic intestinal epithelial cells, the first step in the disease process. Previous research has established that upon contact with the intestinal epithelial cells, Salmonella injects a set of proteins into the host cells through the bacterially encoded type III protein secretion system. These proteins subvert host cell signal transduction pathways to induce profuse actin cytoskeletal rearrangements and membrane ruffling, leading to the uptake of the bacterium. This uptake process is a highly regulated event and requires the coordinated action of the injected bacterial proteins as well as host proteins. My laboratory is interested in identifying and characterizing bacterial and host cellular proteins that are involved in Salmonella -induced actin cytoskeletal rearrangements, especially cellular proteins whose activities are modulated by Salmonella proteins. Studying the interaction between bacteria and their hosts has emerged as one of the most exciting areas of cellular microbiology. It will not only broaden our understanding of bacterial pathogenesis, but also will provide unexpected insights into basic host cellular functions, such as the cytoskeletal rearrangements and signal transduction pathways controlling cell movement.
Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1995
- Eighth Annual Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Meeting, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, October, 2001.
- Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, February, 2001.
- Department of Pathology, Gastrointestinal Pathology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, March, 2001.
- Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana, November, 2001.
- The International Symposium on Frontiers of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, September, 2003.
- Fudan University, Shanghai, China, October, 2003.
- Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois, October, 2003.
- The University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, November, 2003.
- Fudan Medical College, Shanghai, China, November, 2003.
- Indiana University at Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana, January, 2004.
- Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March, 2004.
- Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, October, 2004.
- Midwest Pathogenesis Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, October 27-29, 2000.
- Speaker, "Two-step modulation of the host actin cytoskeleton by Salmonella to promote bacterial entry," Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Meeting, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, October 26-28, 2001.
- Midwest Pathogenesis Meeting, Iowa City, Iowa, October 27-29, 2001.
- Organizer and convener, Midwest Pathogenesis Meeting, Indianapolis, Indiana, September 20-21, 2002.
- Annual Cell Biology Meeting, San Francisco, California, December 13-17, 2003.
- Midwest Pathogenesis Meeting, East Lansing, Michigan, October 1-3, 2004.