My research interest is in opportunist bacterial pathogens that cause persistent infection and chronic disease in the host. My laboratory is currently working with Porphyromonas gingivalis, a Gram-negative anaerobic bacterium that is an important pathobiont of the human oral cavity. In addition to causing periodontal disease, P. gingivalis is implicated in promoting systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Current projects in my laboratory include 1) defining the mechanisms by which P. gingivalis can establish infection at the maternal-fetal interface, induce uterine arterial disease with abnormal placental development, and fetal distress; and 2) assessing the impact of P. gingivalis-mediated disruption of autophagy in major arteries and how this influences the progression of atherosclerosis.
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