The Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases is divided into three sub areas of specialization: Bacteriology and Parasitology, Virology, and Immunology. These CMMID Laboratories interact with each other depending on the needs of different research projects. In general, the bacteriology and parasitology areas perform cultivation of class 1 and 2 organisms, analysis and indentification. The virology area perform cell culture and virus isolation, propogation, analysis and storage. The immunology area produces hybridomas for monoclonal antibody production and is equipped to carry out a variety of cellular and humoral immune assays.
Thomas Inzana's research includes analysis of genes that encode for polysaccharide capsule expression and lipooligosaccharide phase variation in the bacterial pathogens Haemophilus somnus and Francisella tularensis, which are responsible for bovine respiratory disease and tularemia, respectively. The role of these components and the host immune response in bacterial pathogenesis is examined, as well as how knowledge of these components can be used to prepare live attenuated or subunit vaccines and diagnostic tests.
Nammalwar Sriranganathan's research areas include protein antigens involved in the inducing immunological protection against Brucella and Pasteurella infections. The lab is also investigating food safety issues and effects of hormones on the immune capabilities of lymphocytes.
Sharon Witonsky's research includes immunology and infectious diseases, specifically involving host pathogen interactions. She is interested in the mechanisms involving both protective immunity as well as disease development. Current projects include Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) and Brucella spp. With regard to EPM, Witonsky is employing both equine and murine models to determine both the protective immune response associated with Sarcocystis neurona infection as well as the determining the mechanisms by which S. neurona crosses the blood brain barrier to cause encephalitis. In Brucella, Witonsky is assessing the differential ability of various Brucella strains to protect in a respiratory model. She is also interested in basic mechanisms of immune subversion associated with infection.
Ansar Ahmed's research is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular effects of natural, synthetic, and environmental estrogenic compounds on the immune systems of normal and autoimmune mice. One specific area of interest is how estrogens regulate pro-inflammatory cytokine synthesis, key cell signaling events, nuclear transcription factors, and gene expression. Dr. Ahmed's laboratory is considered to be a leady laboratory in the field of regulation of immune system by estrogen.
Christopher M. Reilly's research is designed to investigate the mechanisms responsible for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) using mice that are genetically predisposed to disease. MRL/lpr mice develop lupus disease similar to humans including antibodies to double stranded DNA and renal disease. His studies have delineated signal transduction pathways responsible for increased nitric oxide (NO) production and have investigated various mechanisms to block NO production both genetically and pharmacologically. Additional investigations in his laboratory include modulating inflammation through the control of histone acetylation/deacetylation activity and investigating the interaction between metabolism and inflammation in these autoimmune mouse models.
Xiang-Jin Meng's research areas involve studying the molecular mechanism of viral replication and pathogenesis and developing vaccines against viral diseases. Viruses currently being studied in Dr. Meng's lab include the hepatitis E virus (human, swine and avian HEVs), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, and porcine circoviruses.
Christopher Roberts' virology research laboratory focuses on viral pathogenesis and host-pathogen interactions. The lab currently has a diverse number of research projects such as viral vaccine development, host pathogen interactions and viral:bacterial synergy in disease exacerbation, and immunotherapy and virotherapy targeting ovarian cancer.
Elankumaran Subbiah's current research areas include developing recombinant Newcastle disease virus (NDV) as an oncolytic agent, molecular basis of interspecies transmission of influenza A viruses with emphasis on swine influenza virus, and viral vectored vaccines for emerging viral diseases.
Lijuan Yuan's current research areas include studying the mechanisms of probiotics’ potentiating and regulatory effects on the development of innate and adaptive immunity against human rotavirus infection; studying the impact of dual enteric viral/bacterial infection in the intestinal inflammation and intussusception using gnotobiotic pigs as models; and generation of reverse genetics systems of porcine and human rotaviruses to study the determinants of pathogenicity and attenuation markers of rotaviruses and to develop new generations of rotavirus vaccines.
Dr. Bill Pierson's interests lie in the areas of infectious disease, immunology, biosecurity, and the development of animal models for human disease. Current projects include the molecular characterization of various pathotypes of hemorrhagic enteritis virus (Siadenoviridae), the effect of stress and vitamin C on the response to hemorrhagic enteritis virus vaccination, the role of putative pseudocysts in the environmental persistence of Cochlosoma anatis, the effectiveness of waterless hand sanitizers in the prevention of nosocomial / zoonotic infections in veterinary settings, the pathophysiology and epidemiology of hepatitis E virus in chickens, and the use of chickens as an experimental model for the study of hepatitis E in humans. Primary research interest includes chicken as a model for hepatitis E, and Hemorrhagic enterites virus in turkeys.
Dr. David Lindsay's research focus is the developmental biology and ecology of zoonotic and opportunistic protozoan parasites and in developing improved diagnostics, vaccines and treatments for these important parasites of humans and animals.
Dr. Sharon Witonsky's research includes immunology and infectious diseases, specifically involving host pathogen interactions. She is interested in the mechanisms involving both protective immunity as well as disease development. Current projects include Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) and Brucella spp. With regard to EPM, Witonsky is employing both equine and murine models to determine both the protective immune response associated with Sarcocystis neurona infection as well as the determining the mechanisms by which S. neurona crosses the blood brain barrier to cause encephalitis. In Brucella, Witonsky is assessing the differential ability of various Brucella strains to protect in a respiratory model. She is also interested in basic mechanisms of immune subversion associated with infection.
Dr. Tanya LeRoith’s research interests include infectious disease, immunology and pathology. Current research focuses on the immune response to hepatitis E infection in the chicken model and the role of regulatory T cells in the immune response to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus.