My lab is interested in innate immune mechanisms that underpin inflammatory processes and resistance to intracellular bacteria and protozoa. For a number of years, we have focused on a family of proteins known as Immunity-Related GTPases (IRG; also known as p47 GTPases), which have been associated with both Crohn’s Disease and resistance to mycobacterial infections in humans. We were among the first to clone IRG genes in the mouse and to define their biochemical activity, cellular localization, and cellular functions, prominent among which is regulation of autophagy. By generating mice that lack certain IRG genes (Irgm1, Irgm3, and Irgd), we have been able to demonstrate the key, but distinct roles that individual IRG proteins play in suppressing inflammation, and in resistance to pathogens such as Salmonella typhimurium, Listeria monocytogenes, and Toxoplasma gondii. We continue to apply a range of biochemical, cellular, and physiological approaches to pinpoint the functions of these and related proteins, with the ultimate goal of generating new therapies for human inflammatory and infectious disease.
Education and Training
- Ph.D., Duke University, 1995