My research interests are focused on the pathogenesis of obligate intracellular bacteria, namely rickettsiae and ehrlichiae. My long term goal is to study molecular pathogenesis of rickettsioses, specifically on microvascular permeability and to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the increased vascular permeability seen in rickettsioses. Specifically, I am interested in adherens- and tight junction proteins and the signal transduction pathways involved in their regulation. Such increased vascular permeability leads to cerebral and pulmonary edema, the two main causes of morbidity and mortality in human rickettsioses. In addition, I also have three NIH-funded and one US-Army funded projects in rickettsial diseases. The first project focuses on the development of ultrasensitive diagnostic methods for rickettsial infections during the acute phase of the disease in collaboration with the University of Houston and Sandia National Laboratories in California; the second project focuses on the development of small animal models to study rickettsioses acquired via aerosols; and the third project is focused on the development of a rodent model for scrub typhus (Orientia tsutsugamushi). The US-Army funded project is in collaboration with Physical Optics Corporation in California seeking to develop an antigen-capture test for diagnosis of rickettsial infections in the acute phase using “dipstick” technology.