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Host Pathogen Interactions: Microbiology, Infection, and Immunity

Development of a wide array of biochemical, genetic, molecular biology, and epidemiologic, and “omic” techniques enable experiments that teach us about the pathogens themselves, about ourselves, and about such fundamental biological mechanisms as transcriptional regulation and evolution. Investigators working within the Program in Molecular Medicine study a wide-range of pathogens, including Dengue Virus, Ebola virus, Epstein-Barr Virus, HIV-1, Zika virus, Vibrio cholera, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as well as nematode parasites that include hookworms, whipworms and Ascaris. Exciting initiatives are moving discoveries of basic mechanisms into strategies for therapies.

Aroian Lab
The Aroian Group researches infectious diseases and parasites. Our mission is to discover new cures and new basic information that leads to cures for major diseases that afflict humankind, namely intestinal roundworms and bacterial pathogens.  (Aroian profile)

Brehm Lab
Our laboratory studies the biological mechanisms that control human immune responses to infectious agents and transplanted non-self tissues.  To investigate these mechanisms we are using humanized mouse models that contain functional human immune systems.  The humanized mice are generated using immnodeficient mice, which are engrafted with either human hematopoietic stem cells or with mature human immune cells.  These humanized mouse models allow the direct study of human immunity that is not possible with patients.  (Brehm profile)

Clapham Lab
Our research investigates how the glycoprotein spikes on HIV particles interact with the cell surface receptors and neutralizing antibodies. Our aim is to understand how these envelope spikes vary in different parts of the body allowing HIV to evade neutralization and to transmit to a new person. Understanding these issues will help the design of drugs and vaccines to treat and prevent HIV infection.  (Clapham profile)

Garber Lab
Manuel Garber, PhD, associate professor of molecular medicine and bioinformatics and integrative biology, and director of the Bioinformatics Core. Dr. Garber’s methods have been critical to the discovery and characterization of a novel set of large intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) and to our understanding of the immune transcriptional response to pathogens. In September 2012, Dr. Garber moved to the University of Massachusetts Medical School to establish his laboratory and direct the Bioinformatics core.  (Garber profile)

Gottlinger Lab
The laboratory focuses on the late events in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) replication, in particular on an endosomal budding machinery that HIV-1 co-opts to promote its egress from infected cells, and on the molecular mechanism by which the viral accessory protein Nef enhances the intrinsic infectivity of newly assembled virions.  (Gottlinger profile)

Greiner Lab
Our laboratory investigates the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes, how to prevent it, and how to reverse it through islet transplantation. We use mouse and rat models of type 1 diabetes, and are building mice with human immune systems that permit the direct study of human disease without putting patients at risk.  (Greiner profile)

Karlsson Lab
My research uses evolution as a tool for understanding how the human genome works. By combining signals of natural selection with genome-wide association studies, I aim to identify genes, pathways, and the functional variants underlying polygenic diseases, and translate these discoveries into advances in human health care. I am currently applying these methods to understand infectious disease resistance in humans, such as cholera resistance in Bangladesh, as well as behavioral genetics in dogs.  (Karlsson profile)

Kaufman Lab
We study several different classes of proteins used by eukaryotic cells to deposit histones onto DNA, as well as enzyme complexes that chemically modify chromosome proteins in order to alter DNA accessibility. We study these processes in yeast and human cells, using biochemical, genetic, genomic, and cell biological techniques. (Kaufman profile)

Lambright Lab
Crystallographic, biophysical, biochemical, and cell biological approaches are used to investigate mechanisms of membrane trafficking and cell signaling. Defects in these fundamental regulatory mechanisms play critical roles in genetically linked disorders and complex disease states including cancer and diabetes.  (Lambright profile)

Luban Lab
Distinguished physician–scientist Jeremy Luban, MD has been appointed professor of molecular medicine at UMass Chan Medical School and the David L. Freelander Memorial Professor in HIV/AIDS Research. Dr. Luban’s  research focuses on understanding host cell factors that contribute to HIV viral replication. He has identified Cyclophilin A and Trim 5 among more than thirty HIV-1 regulatory host factors. His work will contribute to the development of drugs and vaccines targeting HIV virus infections and other disease states. NIH/NIDA named him a 2012 Avant-Garde Awardee for HIV/AIDS research.  (Luban profile)

Luzuriaga Lab
Research in the laboratory is focused on understanding viral and host factors that contribute to the establishment of persistent viral infections in humans, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and cytomegalovirus (CMV).  (Luzuriaga profile)

Moormann Lab
Pediatric immunity to infectious diseases focusing on Plasmodium falciparum malaria and Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), molecular epidemiology, Global Health Research, and the etiology of endemic Burkitt lymphoma in Africa.  (Moormann profile)

Strambio De Castillia Lab
Caterina Strambio De Castillia grew up in Italy and received her Laurea in Biologia (equivalent to B.S./M.S.) from the University of Pavia in 1988. She obtained her Ph.D. (1992-1998) working with Gunter Blobel at The Rockefeller Universitycore.Her work has been supported by the American Cancer Society, the European Union and the Swiss National Science Foundation. In 2012, Dr. Strambio De Castillia joined the Program in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  (Strambio De Castillia profile)

Zapp Lab
An essential and characteristic step in human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) replication is the export of the intron-containing gag-pol and env mRNAs from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. The viral regulatory protein Rev mediates this event, in conjunction with the cellular nuclear export machinery and several protein cofactors. Our long-term objective is to gain a detailed understanding of the cellular factors and molecular mechanisms involved in Rev-directed nuclear export, cytoplasmic localization, and function of HIV-1 RNAs.  (Zapp profile)