AIDS Pathogenesis (Immunology and Medicine)

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A critical component of the immune system is tight regulation; ensuring appropriate termination of immune responses following pathogen clearance and avoiding the inappropriate activation of immune responses to self tissues resulting in autoimmunity. Studies include analysis of the pathogenesis of important bacterial and viral biodefense agents, comparative genomic studies on Vibrio species, genetic analysis of Francisella tularensis, analysis of immune responses to such viruses as influenza virus, Respiratory Syncytial Virus RSV and human arenaviruses such as Lassa and Junin, and the development and testing of new vaccines for pathogens that include human arenaviruses and influenza.

Oncogenically transformed cells arise through a multistep process, and are normally subject to immune surveillance and elimination by the immune system. Cluster research focuses understanding of the immune mechanisms involved in tumor recognition and rejection, as well as fundamental mechanisms of cellular transformation and the role of microbial agents in oncogenic disease of the gastrointestinal GI tract.

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Microbes and viruses interact with host cells to induce alterations in cellular phenotype and function, thereby subverting host cell metabolism to meet their own needs. In addition, many microbes and viruses exert effects on the host immune response, so as to evade host immune control. Knowledge of the interplay between infectious pathogens and their host cells is therefore important, in order to identify potential new targets for drug therapy and as a basis for understanding microbial pathogenesis.

Research focuses on various aspects of mammalian and amphibian cell biology including, cell to cell interactions, cell cycle control, intracellular signaling, differentiation and subcellular organelles. The ESKAPE pathogens comprise the 6 bacterial pathogens considered to be of greatest healthcare concern by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, because of their high burden of disease and frequent ability to evade currently used antibiotics.

Chief among these is Staphylococcus aureus, which is the focus of several faculty laboratories, interested in establishing bacterial determinants of virulence as well as new targets for antimicrobial therapy. Additional research focuses on Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as well as fungal species that a major cause of disease among medically immune suppressed persons, and polymicrobial infection. Microbes and viruses interact with their immediate environment and in doing so alter the expression of their own genes or those of the host.

Faculty study the regulation of gene expression at all levels, including global changes in bacterial gene expression in biofilms and dental caries, cytokine and gene expression changes associated with immune cell differentiation, and the comparative genomics of Vibrio cholerae species.

Satya Dandekar, Ph.D.

These studies are enhanced by the University of Rochester's state of the art Functional Genomics Center, and other recent upgrades in the Core Facilities of the Medical Center. The Department currently is the primary research base for 21 faculty members, their respective staff and students.

Dandekar's research program is focused on the molecular pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus SIV infections with special emphasis on gastrointestinal mucosal lymphoid tissue GALT as a major target organ of the viral infection and as a viral reservoir.


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Current studies have been focused on determining the molecular mechanisms of the disruption of gut mucosal immune system in HIV infection and restoration during anti-retroviral therapy. Her research has utilized the SIV infected rhesus macaque model to investigate the pathologic effects of viral infection on the gut mucosal immune system and function.

She has successfully integrated basic and clinical studies to determine the pathogenic mechanisms of mucosal HIV infection. Dandekar's research was also one of the first to demonstrate that GALT is an early target organ for the pathogenic effects of SIV infection.

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Dandekar's research described for the first time the restoration kinetics of gut mucosal system during therapy and repair of the damage to gut mucosal structure and function caused by the viral infection. Dandekar is developing a collaboration between experts in the fields of human embryonic stem cells, umbilical cord blood stem cells and HIV therapy to develop the ability to rebuild and restore a robust immune system in HIV infected patients that have been offered little hope of further treatment due to the ongoing battle in the development of drug-resistance HIV strains.

Department of Microbiology & Immunology Research - Drexel University College of Medicine

Dandekar has established an international collaborative research consortium in India for AIDS research. Two of the NGOs are located in coastal region of Andhra Pradesh that has one of the highest incidences of HIV infection, unique endemic infections and a large rural population.

Dandekar has brought together researchers from the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Division of Infectious Diseases and the Department of Public Health Sciences and researchers from Stanford University for the development of this program.


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  8. Recently, she has been instrumental in developing a multi-institutional international program on HIV research in India and has participated in training of Indian researchers through her participation in the Northern California Center for AIDS Research as the Director of the Developmental Core activities. Current efforts are aimed at developing the infrastructure and cost-effective assays relevant to Indian setting for the care and management of HIV infected patients in India.

    She has experience working with NGOs with extensive community outreach and the Indian government research institution. Funding resources Dr.

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    Dandekar continues to maintain an outstanding track record of federal funding from governmental agencies. Dandekar is a collaborator of Dr.

    Their research focuses on the study of the HIV infection in minority populations and their response to therapy and mucosal immunity.

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