Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
B10a Foster Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214
My lab's focus is on understanding the cell biology of macrophages and dendritic cells in the context of the oral environment to increase our understanding of the roles these cells play in both oral cavity immune homeostasis and disease development. We focus on phagocytosis, the process whereby invading microorganisms are taken up by immune cells and destroyed.
A main area of investigation in the lab is looking to understand how normally commensal (healthy) bacteria (ie Streptococcus spp.) can avoid being killed when they’re in the phagosome, leading to increased destruction during oral diseases such as periodontitis or the development of extra-oral infections such as endocarditis. Understanding the mechanisms behind this survival, as well as how changes in the local environment can alter the microbial survival, will lead us to better treatments of such conditions.
We are also investigating the process of phagocytosis itself, looking to understand the role various proteins and lipids have in the normal maturation of the phagosome. With such knowledge we hope to gain an understanding of how to correct the phagocytic process when problems arise, such as when pathogens interfere with the process to allow for their own survival.