Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology
320 Foster Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214
The oral cavity is a unique environment, with large numbers of
bacteria present as a polymicrobial biofilm in close contact with
host tissues including epithelial cells, connective cells and
underlying immune cells. One group of bacteria associated with this
biofilm are oral spirochetes, such as Treponema denticola. One area
of research in my laboratory focuses on determining how T.
denticola and other spirochetes remain “under the
radar” to evade the normally protective neutrophil response
and impair associated key cellular processes such as directed cell
migration (chemotaxis) and actin dynamics.
Projects ongoing include:
1. Investigation of how the major outer sheath protein (Msp) of T. denticola modulates host cell lipid signalling molecules called phosphoinositides, resulting in impaired cell migration and actin-remodelling.
2. Using global approaches including microarray and proteomics to:
a. Identify additional spirochete virulence factors that modulate neutrophil function.
b. Identify neutrophil pathways impacted by exposure to oral pathogens.
Additionally, my laboratory is interested in investigating microbial pathogenesis mechanisms allowing for bacteria to survive and cause disease and related tissue damage. Specific areas of research are:
1. Iron transport and regulation in oral bacteria.
2. Bacterial cell communication and signaling systems.