SEMINAR: Life on the Inside: Targeting the Host Cell to Understand How Plague Survives in Macrophages

Matthew B. Lawrenz, Ph.D.
When Apr 18, 2018
from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM
Where Shumaker Research Bldg, Room 139
Contact Name
Contact Phone 852-7485
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Abstract: Yersina pestis is a facultative intracelluular pathogen that cause the human disease know as plague.  While researchers have known for decades that Y. pestis can survive in macrophages, the molecular mechanisms that enable Y. pestis to evade macrophage killing have been difficult to define.  Using an RNAi-based approach targeting the host cell, we were able to identify for the first time a vesicular trafficking pathway targeted by Y. pestis during infection and demonstrate that this pathway is important for intracellular survival.   The data provide our first clues into how Y.pestis manipulates the macropahge during intracellular infection and allows us to compare and contrast virulence mechanisms of other intracellurlar pathogens.  Using these data we can beginn to identify Y. pestis virulence factors that allow the bacterium to subvert normal macrophage killing mechanisms.

Speaker: Dr. Lawrenz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and a member of the Center for Predictive Medicine.  Dr. Lawrenz received his PhD in Microbiology from the University of Texas and joined UofL in 2010 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University and the University of North Carolina.   Dr. Lawrenz's lab is interested in defining bacterial immune evasion strategies and developin new vaccines and therapeutics.

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