Immunology and Infectious Disease
Iannis E Adamopoulos BSc(Hons), M.Phil, D.Phil
Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology
School of Medicine, University of California at Davis
Osteoimmunology (see also: biochemistry, dermatology, translational research and osteoimmunology)
Our laboratory studies the interface between the skeletal and immune systems, a newly emerging area of research called “osteoimmunology”. Haematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow give rise to both T cells which are important in inflammation and osteoclasts that regulate bone resorption. Differentiation and activation of osteoclasts from their precursors is tightly regulated by cytokines and growth factors such as receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa beta (RANKL), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and various interleukins. Receptor engagement of these molecules results in signaling cascades and transcriptional changes that give rise to medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and osteopetrosis. Using in vivo gene transfer of immune cytokines IL-23 and IL-17, we have established new arthritis animal models that highlight the importance of these immune cytokines in arthritis initiation and bone homeostasis. Using in vitro assays, we continue our attempts to define the cellular and molecular mechanisms that take place in this fascinating interplay of the immune and skeletal systems.
Amir Ardeshir DVM, MPVM, PhD
(See also: Gastroenterology/Gut Microbiome, Microbiology, Systems Biology, Wildlife/Exotic Animal Medicine)
Dr. Amir Ardeshir is an Associate Scientist at the California National Primate Research Center. His research focus is on the establishment of the gut communities (microbiota) in infancy and their role in programming the immune system in non-human primate models. He is interested in the following questions: What underlying mechanisms affect the establishment of the gut microbiota in infancy? And, how does the early age microbiota modulate the immune systems development?
Please contact Dr. Ardeshir at email@example.com for more information.
Center for Comparative Medicine; Immunity to infectious diseases (See also: Vector-borne Diseases)
Dr. Baumgarth is a veterinarian and research immunologist with broad interests in infectious disease immunology. An underlying theme of all research studies in her laboratory is the use of mouse models to dissect the complexity of host-pathogen interactions. For that she has developed new technologies that allow a precise assessment and analysis of in vivo immune events. A major focus of her research involves studies on the regulation of early antiviral B cell immune responses to influenza virus. Ongoing work is directed towards identifying mechanisms by which infection-induced innate cytokines regulate the earliest events that trigger antiviral B cells responses. Members of her lab are working on the concept that innate cytokines regulate the thresholds by which lymphocytes are activated to participate in immune responses in order to avoid the negative consequences of a potentially overshooting immune response (autoimmunity). She is also involved in studies to delineate the causes for the lack of protective immunity to the Lyme disease pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi. Using a mouse model established by her collaborator, Dr. Barthold, they are following their earlier observations that B. burgdorferi subverts the B cell response to this pathogen, with the long-term goal to find targets for therapeutic intervention that could bolster the immune response of an infected individual to clear this bacterial infection.
Please visit Dr. Baumgarth's website at: https://ccm.ucdavis.edu/faculty/baumgarth/
Andreas J. Baumler, PhD
SOM: Medical Microbiology and Immunology (see also: Microbiology, GI Physiology/Gastroenterology)
I am a microbiologist interested in the interaction of enteric pathogens with their hosts. We use mouse models to study Salmonella pathogenesis and host response. The main goals of this work are to interrogate mechanisms that enable typhoidal Salmonella serovars, such as Salmonella typhi, to evade innate immune recognition and mechanisms that enable non-typhoidal Salmonella serovars, such as Salmonella typhimurium, to take advantage of the host inflammatory response to edge out competing gut microbes. Furthermore, we use day-of-hatch chickens to investigate how Salmonella enteritidis colonizes the infant gut. We are also interested in how the gut microbiota confers colonization resistance against Escherichia coli and other commensal Enterobactericeae and in understanding the pathogenesis of colonic crypt hyperplasia caused by Citrobacter rodentium in mice, which is an animal model for infection with enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC).
Please visit Dr. Baumler's website for more information.
Charles L. Bevins MD, PhD
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine
Our laboratory is interested in innate immunity of mucosal tissues, and we are focused on key effector molecules of host defense: antimicrobial peptides. Antimicrobial peptides are endogenous antibiotics, isolated from diverse species throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. They represent an evolutionary ancient mechanism of host defense. These peptides typically have a broad-spectrum of antimicrobial activity that includes bacteria, fungi and certain viruses. Defensins are the major class of antimicrobial peptides in humans and other mammals. Investigations from our laboratory have discovered that certain defensins are expressed in abundance by epithelial cells at wet mucosal surface. Our studies support a model - antimicrobial peptide constitutes part of an active, early host defense response of challenged epithelial cells. The long-range goal of our research is to understand the specific role that these epithelial antimicrobial peptides play in mucosal innate immunity, including maintaining homeostasis at baseline and responding to challenge by pathogenic microbes. Our current collaborative studies include: (i) characterizing the primary structure and biological activity of the tissue forms defensins, (ii) defining the key regulatory steps for the expression of these molecules, (iii) exploring potential mechanisms of therapeutic modulation of these systems. The investigations include biochemical and molecular biological approaches and analysis of transgenic and other animal models.
Please visit Dr. Bevins' website at: http://biosci3.ucdavis.edu/Faculty/Profile/View/14231
Jack Bui, M.D., PhD*
Innate immunity and cancer
Dr. Bui’s laboratory studies the molecular basis of tumor rejection by the immune system. His lab uses mouse models to elucidate pathways that activate appropriate anti-tumor immune responses while blocking pro-tumor inflammatory responses. He has expertise in primary models of sarcoma and breast cancer, transplantable syngeneic models of various cancer cell lines, and xenogeneic transplantation models of human cancer cell lines. He is especially interested in mobilizing innate immune cells such as natural killer cells and macrophages to destroy cancer cells. Dr. Bui also studies human immune responses using flow cytometry assays and is the Director of the UCSD Clinical Flow Cytometry Laboratory.
Marie E. Burns, PhD
College of Biological Sciences (see also: Biochemistry, Neurology, Translational Research)
**Unable to accept STAR students in 2019**
The first steps in vision begin in the rod and cone photoreceptors of the retina, which transduce photons of light into electrical signals. Our lab examines the biochemical and biophysical properties of signaling in photoreceptors, as well as the consequences of defective signaling on visual performance. We are also trying to understand why and how photoreceptors die, which is the ultimate leading cause of untreatable blindness in humans. Photoreceptor degeneration, like all neurodegenerative diseases, leads to microglial activation and neuroinflammation. We are trying to understand the regulation of neuroinflammation, its relationship to neovascularization, and its helpful vs harmful consequences for perserving neuronal and synaptic function. To this end, we are also exploring how resident and infiltrating immune cells and glial cells can be used to manipulate the local micro environments within the nervous system to mitigate tissue damage and promote regenerative repair.
Barbara Byrne, DVM
VM:PMI (See also: Microbiology, Wildlife/Zoonoses)
The Byrne laboratory focuses primarily on microbiological questions as they apply to clinical veterinary microbiology. Some research areas include:
- Evaluation of the marine health by detection of pathogens in marine mammals, their food sources, and the marine environment and appraisal of their connection with terrestrial sources.
- Environmental contamination by zoonotic fecal pathogens.
- Genotyping of clinical isolates to determine their relatedness
- Use of mass spectrometry for isolate and strain identification
Some possible project areas:
1) Evaluation of marine mammal isolates for virulence factors
2) Comparison of clinical isolates for genetic relatedness by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis
3) Use of mass spectroscopy (MALDI-TOF) to identify and classify bacterial and/or fungal strains
Please visit Dr. Byrne's website at: http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/bbyrne/
Lillian Cruz-Orengo, Ph.D.
VM: Anatomy, Physiology & Cell Biology
(See also: Neurology, Pharmacology/Toxicology)
My research focuses at the neuroimmune interactions at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and its role in the neuropathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, like Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is the second leading cause of neurologic deficits in young adults and exhibits a high sex-bias affecting three times more women than men. MS is characterized by the pathologic trafficking of autoreactive-leukocytes into the central nervous system (CNS). We are interested in 1) assessing the contribution of IL-20 cytokine family signaling and 2) the role of sexual dimorphisms at the BBB using the murine MS model Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE). Likewise, we want to 3) assert if Canine Immune-Mediated Encephalitis (CIME) could be characterized as a natural MS model. CIME etiology is elusive but, but there is evidence to suggest that is due to autoimmunity. Lastly, we are in the developing a model 4) to assess changes in brain microvasculature as a result to pesticide exposure using zebrafish. This model will lead to better understanding of the role that environmental factors may play in of BBB disruption and consequently on neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Autoimmunity, sexual bias/dimorphisms, blood-brain barrier, neuroinflammation/neurodegeneration
Dr. Cruz-Orengo can be reached at (530) 752-7318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rodrigo Gallardo, DVM, PhD, dACPV
Poultry medicine, preventive veterinary medicine, virology (see also: Food Animal Medicine)
My research has been focused in poultry medicine specifically poultry viral diseases and immunology. One of my goals is to use of molecular and conventional virology and preventive veterinary medicine strategies to understand and control poultry diseases. Lately I have been focusing in international poultry work towards village poultry improvement controlling Newcastle disease virus in Central America and Africa.
Melanie Gareau, Ph.D.
VM: Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology
(See also: GI/Gastroenterology, Behavior and Neurology)
Dr. Gareau is a physiologist primarily interested in studying the microbiota-gut-brain axis. It is increasingly being recognized that the microbes that live the gastrointestinal tract, collectively referred to as the intestinal microbiota, can contribute to modulating cognition and mood. The research focus of her laboratory is in determining how manipulating the microbiota within the gut, using models of infection with bacterial pathogens or administration of beneficial probiotic bacteria, can change cognitive function, anxiety, and depression-like behaviors in mouse models of disease. Dr. Gareau has a particular interest in how the microbiota-gut-brain axis responds to stimulation with psychological stressors and under conditions of intestinal inflammation, such as in models of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Ongoing projects in the laboratory include studying behavior in mouse models of IBD and following pathogenic E. coli infection.
If interested, please contact Dr. Gareau: email@example.com
Laurel J. Gershwin, DVM, PhD
VM: Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology (See also: Pathology/Virology, Pulmonary Medicine)
Dr. Gershwin is a veterinary immunologist who studies immunopathogenesis of disease in several species.
The laboratory studies bovine respiratory disease, with particular emphasis on Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV). Ongoing projects focus on effects of anti-viral compounds and anti-inflammatory drugs on bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) infection, testing in cattle a new potential BRSV subunit vaccine, and evaluating gene usage during acute and chronic infection. Human and bovine RSV are very similar and cause almost identical disease in their respective hosts. One of our projects has uses a human anti-RSV drug to evaluate its effectiveness in bovine calves.
Another project in the Gershwin laboratory focuses on the use of a non-pathogenic Histophilus somni isolate to evoke the production of antiviral molecules by the respiratory epithelium. The project involves bacteriology, virology, and molecular biology, as well as working with bovine calves.
STAR projects for summer can involve either of these research areas.
Please visit Dr. Gershwin's website at: http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/ljgershwin/
Meera Heller DVM, PhD, DACVIM
VM: Medicine & Epidemiology
(See also: Internal Medicine, Food Animal Medicine & Food Safety)
I’m an Assistant Professor of Clinical Livestock Medicine and Surgery (C barn). My research interests lie in the area of immunology and infectious disease, specifically in the areas of innate immune response and juvenile immunity. My research goals are to improve prevention and treatment of calfhood disease, or disease in neonates of any species. My clinical expertise is in internal medicine and surgery of ruminants and swine, and I have a special interest in cattle and goats. Potential research projects include bench-top projects working with bovine bacterial pathogens in the lab, field research on a novel approach to prevention pink eye in cattle, field research to document a vector borne disease in goat populations in northern California, and clinically important retrospective studies using the VMACS database. I am also open to project ideas from students, and am happy to help you craft a research question that fits your interests.
Please contact Dr. Heller via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smita Iyer, PhD
Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology
(See also: Microbiology/Parasitology, Pathology/Virology)
Our lab’s primary research interests center around delineating immunological and molecular mechanisms of CD4 T cell help. Our ultimate goal is to use this information to design an effective HIV vaccine and in parallel understand mechanisms of HIV susceptibility and pathogenesis.
Well-defined projects in the lab in the area of HIV immunology provide motivated students opportunities to contribute to publications while training in biomedical research. Research projects provide opportunities to learn, implement, and analyze data using powerful tools such as flow cytometry in combination with RNA sequencing analysis.
Phone: (530) 752-5716 Office
(530) 754-2688 Lab
Ronald Li, DVM, MVetMed, DACVECC
Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences
(See also: Biochemistry/Cellular Biology, Surgery, Emergency and Critical Care)
Dr. Li is a small animal criticalist and platelet-neutrophil biologist in the department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences. The Li Comparative Platelet and Neutrophil Physiology Laboratory focuses on platelet and neutrophil interaction in health and diseases, immune and hemostatic function of platelets and the testing of anti-platelet therapies in small animals. Currently Dr. Li is working on projects related to the impact of genetic polymorphisms in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy on clopidogrel therapy and platelet activation. His laboratory is also investigating the role of platelet-derived high mobility group box-1 in platelet activation and neutrophil extracellular trap formation in dogs and cats.
Please contact Ronald Li at email@example.com for more information.
Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD
(See also: Epidemiology, Global Health, Non-Human Primate Medicine)
Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD, is a Professor of Epidemiology and Disease Ecology and Executive Director of the One Health Institute in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where she focuses on global health problem solving, especially for emerging infectious disease and conservation challenges. Dr. Mazet is active in international One Health research programs, most notably in relation to disease transmission among wildlife, domestic animals, and people and the ecological drivers of disease emergence. Currently, she is the Global Director of a $175 million viral emergence early warning project, named PREDICT, that has been developed with the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Emerging Pandemic Threats Program. She was elected to the US National Academy of Medicine in 2013 in recognition of her successful and innovative approach to emerging environmental and global health threats.
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen McSorley, PhD
Dr. McSorley is an immunologist whose research is focused on understanding T and B cell responses to bacterial infections particularly in the intestine and female reproductive tract. The overall goal of these NIH-funded projects is to improve understanding of memory responses in order to develop new vaccines. Specific research projects include: developing a sub-unit vaccine against systemic Salmonella infection; visualizing T cell responses to Chlamydia infection in the reproductive tract; examining innate activation of T cells during bacterial infections. Dr. McSorley also has an ongoing collaborative project with the Center for Companion Animal Health that seeks to develop new biologic therapeutics for canine oncology.
Visit Dr. McSorley's website for more information.
Lisa Miller, PhD
Immunology, respiratory, pediatric
California National Primate Research Center
Dr. Miller's research program is focused on understanding the relationship between early life environmental exposures, immunity and chronic disease. We study how mucosal and systemic immunity is established during infancy, and determine the impact of air pollutants, allergens, and infectious disease on childhood health. A major emphasis has been in the elucidation of mechanisms for immune susceptibility that lead to pediatric airways dysfunction, which may ultimately lead to generation of new diagnostics and preventative medicine. Current research projects that use both in vivo and in vitro approaches include investigation of the airways microbiome during development, epigenetic mechanisms of air pollutants in chronic lung disease, and maturation of innate immune function in airway epithelium.
Please visit Dr. Miller's website at: http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/lmiller/
Victor Nizet, M.D.*
(See also: Microbiology/Parasitology)
Dr. Nizet is a Pediatric Physician-Scientist, Infectious Diseases Specialist and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Pharmacology & Drug Discovery at UCSD School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Nizet leads a large and productive basic and translational research program focused upon the innate immune system, bacterial pathogenesis and the development of new immune-based infectious disease treatment strategies including novel antibiotics, targeted neutralization of bacterial virulence phenotypes, and pharmacologic augmentation of host phagocyte function.
Kent E. Pinkerton, Ph.D.
Professor of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology
(see also: cardiology, pathology/virology, pharmacology/toxicology and pulmonary medicine)
1) To take an innovative approach in addressing air quality issues in dairy and cattle operations by the examination of direct health effects on the cardiopulmonary systems of mice and rats exposed to ambient particles using a concentrator system at the Tulare Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center.
2) To examine the effects of environmental factors (gases and particles in the air) on peri-natal development to affect lung anatomy and pulmonary function in the rat. From conception to adulthood in the rats takes approximately 6 weeks, an easy fit for one summer!
3) To measure heart rate variability as an indicator of change in autonomic control in the mouse exposed to Davis, CA summer particulates.
4) To take a comparative biology approach to elucidate mechanistic environmental pathways leading to increased susceptibility (fetal onset of adult disease).
5) To examine the role of secondhand smoke on increased susceptibility to infection (influenza).
6) To explore the role of metabolomics as an early indicator of disease (asthma, altered immune function, increased susceptibility to infection).
Please visit Dr. Pinkerton's website for more information.
Colin Reardon, Ph.D.
Immunology, IBD, T1D (see also: gastroenterology)
VM: Anatomy, Physiology, & Cell Biology
Dr. Reardon is an immunologist specializing in the regulation of immunology. He is particularly interested in the mechanisms of communication between the nervous and immune systems. Although thought of as disparate fields of study, these two systems have co-evolved and are now appreciated to influence each other. Dr. Reardon’s research focuses on the modification of immune outcomes by neurotransmitters, and on the recently discovered production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (Ach) by B- and T-cells. Dr. Reardon’s research has previously identified that the commensal microbiota is involved in the regulation of Ach production by these immune cells. . Various projects are currently ongoing in the laboratory that will seek to establish the role of specific neurons in modulating immunopathologies, including inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes. Based on this, testing of small molecule agonists, and neurostimulator devices (in collaboration with biomedical engineers) to modulate immunopathologies will be performed in the laboratory. To accomplish this a variety of complementary techniques will be used including flow cytometry, confocal and intravital microscopy.
If interested, please contact Dr. Reardon email@example.com
Jay Solnick, MD, Ph.D.
MED: Infectious Diseases (see also: microbiology)
Center for Comparative Medicine
Dr. Solnick is a microbiologist and infectious disease physician whose research seeks to understand the pathogenesis of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that causes peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. There are two major lines of investigation in his laboratory. First, how does the bacterium modify outer membrane proteins and other surface structures to avoid host immunity and persistently colonize the gastric epithelium? Second, what is the role of defensins and other innate immune effectors in the chronic colonization by H. pylori? These and related questions are addressed using a wide range of molecular and biochemical methods, as well as primate and murine animal models.
Please visit Dr. Solnick's website for more information.
Esteban Soto-Martinez, MSc, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVM
VM: Medicine and Epidemiology (See also: Microbiology, Pathology, WIldlife/Zoonoses)
Dr. Esteban Soto is a board certified veterinary microbiologist who has an interest in aquatic animal health. Our laboratory main research interests are to understand the pathogenesis of important infectious diseases of wild and aquatic animals, and to develop strategies to protect animals from these diseases. Members in our laboratory study One Health, Aquatic Animal Disease, and Fish Disease through a combination of microbiological, molecular, and epidemiological methods. Current projects involve studying the ecology, diversity and host-pathogen interaction of Francisella noatunensis, Piscirickettsia salmonis, Veronaea botryosa, Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, Flavobacterium spp., Saprolegnia ferax, Koi herpes virus and other fish pathogens; and studying the ecology, diversity and host-pathogen interaction of hypermucoid Klebsiella pneumoniae in marine mammals.
Please email Dr. Soto-Martinez for more information - firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine
(see also: microbiology, wildlife/exotics)
Dr. Tsolis is a microbiologist studying host-pathogen interactions leading to disease during infection. Her laboratory uses a variety of animal models to study how two groups of zoonotic pathogens, non-typhoidal Salmonella and zoonotic Brucella species, interact with the immune system to cause disease. For non-typhoidal Salmonella species, Dr. Tsolis' group is interested in learning why underlying co-morbidities such as malaria and malnutrition increase the incidence of death from systemic infection in the developing world, and her laboratory has developed mouse models to gain insight into immunomodulatory effects of Vitamin A deficiency and malaria. For Brucella, the laboratory has developed models to understand both chronic infection that this group of organisms causes within the mononuclear phagocyte system and to interrogate placental infections in pregnant animals that lead to abortion in domestic animals. Collaborations with UCD research Dr. Luckhart in the Medical Microbiology department, Dr. McSorley in the Center for Comparative Medicine and Dr. Stephensen in the USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center have been instrumental in establishing this interdisciplinary research program. The long-term goal of Dr. Tsolis' work is to uncover basic principles of how bacterial pathogens manipulate the immune response to cause disease and ensure their transmission to the next host.
Dr. Tsolis' research is described here: https://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/medmicro/Faculty_MR/Tsolis/tsolis_index_mr.html
Nissi Varki, M.D.*
Comparative pathology, mouse models of human disease
Director of Histopathology Resources, Cancer and Mouse Histopathology
Professor of Pathology
(See also: Cardiology, Oncology, Pathology/Virology)
Dr. Nissi Varki's research interests include comparative histopathology analysis of genetically altered mice, and models of human diseases including cancer, inflammatory disorders and microbial infections. She is investigating the role of glycosylated molecules in tumor progression and metastasis, including evidence for a human-specific mechanism for diet and antibody-mediated inflammation in human carcinogenesis. Another area of recent exploration is the tissue and species-specific expression of sialic-acid binding lectin receptors known as Siglecs, which play an important role in regulating host innate immune responses and inflammation. Dr. Varki also has a longstanding interest in immunological mechanisms operating at the gastrointestinal mucosal epithelium and their role in chronic colitis and colon cancer development. Dr. Varki serves as Director of the Histopathology Core laboratories Mouse Phenotyping Services at UC San Diego and teaches in the histology and pathology laboratory sessions for medical students, mentors numerous undergraduate students and high school students and serves on the Recruitment and Admissions Committee for the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
Link to Dr. Varki’s current publications
Link to Dr. Varki’s website
Joseph Vinetz, M. D.*
Department of Medicine, UC San Diego
Dr. Joe Vinetz is an infectious disease clinician and scientist investigating brucellosis, malaria, and leptospirosis. One student summer project would be to assess the public health effect of goat vaccination on human brucellosis in Peru. Brucellosis due to Brucellosis melitensis has long been endemic in Peru. From 2005-2010, the human brucellosis incidence markedly declined, which seems to be due to vaccination of goats with the Rev-1 vaccine. Dr. Vinetz has high level contacts in the Peruvian Office of General Epidemiology, the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture and the Peruvian National Institute of Health, which, in combination with faculty contacts based at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and the University of California San Diego, will allow a motivated student to obtain country-wide data towards analyzing the human and animal brucellosis trends in Peru.
Note: Student must be fluent in Spanish