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Intestinal Pathogens Research

Overview

The Intestinal Pathogens Research lab seeks to define mechanisms of intestinal defense and repair in infectious enteritis and identify rational approaches to nutritional and pharmacologic enhancement of epithelial repair. Toward this end, our laboratory is focused on the study of two enteric protozoal pathogens;  Cryptosporidium parvum and Tritrichomonas foetus as well as the role of enteric bacteria in both inflammatory bowel disease and necrotizing enterocolitis.

Cryptosporidium parvum infects the single columnar epithelial lining of the small intestine. This epithelium is the first line of defense against translocation of luminal bacteria, antigens, or endotoxin into the body while also being responsible for selective absorption of the majority of nutrients, electrolytes and water required for life. Infection with C. parvum is a leading cause of diarrhea in infants worldwide and in adults with HIV. Contamination of municipal water supplies with C. parvum oocysts has resulted in the largest outbreaks of waterborne diarrhea in U.S. history. Despite intensive effort, a consistently effective antimicrobial therapy for C. parvum infection or means for decontamination of cysts shed into the environment has yet to be identified. Resistance, infectivity and potential for widespread morbidity have ranked C. parvum as a priority pathogen for biodefense research.

Engaging Students 

We are proud to have hosted the following veterinary and undergraduate students: 2014 – Stuart Ellis, Hayley Andre (Univ. of Surrey) and Melissa Tamimi (Clemson Univ.) | 2013 – Amy DiDomenico | 2010 – Hannah Preedy (Univ. of Surrey) | 2007 – Sara Gray | 2005 – Leah M. Zadrozny | 2004 – Christina Copple | 2003 – Jessica Allen, Carol St. John | 2002 – Sophia Chiang, Laurel Duckett, Derek Foster. Learn more about the Veterinary Scholars Program.

Our Lab in the News 

Sponsors

Our research isn’t possible without the support of our sponsors. Thanks to the following agencies and foundations for their support:

Research Team