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Faculty Members of the IHII (D - L)

Members of the Institute for Human Infections & Immunity are University of Texas Medical Branch faculty actively engaged in the study of infectious diseases and immunity.

Alphabetical Listing of IHII Members: A - C  |  D - L  |  M - R  |  S - Z

Sara Dann, PhD

Innate immunity, immune regulation, enteric pathogens
View Department of Internal Medicine profile »My research focuses on the induction and regulation of the host's immune response to bacterial and parasitic infections in the gut. We examine cross talk between epithelial cells and immune cells during infection. Current studies focus on: (1) IL-10 independent mechanisms of immune regulation; (2) induction of protective mucosal immunity in the absence of inflammatory signals; and (3) role of innate immune cells in inducing and suppressing intestinal inflammation.
IHII center affiliations: CBEID, CTD

Kelly Dineley, PhD

View Department of Neurology profile » The overall goal of my research program is to better understand the maladaptive neuroplastic changes in the brain related to cognitive deficits that arise in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. For the past 15 years I have been studying neuroplasticity in animal models of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including infectious disease, central pain, cocaine addiction, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, for which I am currently funded and have been funded throughout my career.

Tonyia Eaves-Pyles, PhD

Bacteriology, pathogenesis
View Department of Microbiology & Immunology profile »My research focuses on understanding the interaction between pathogenic bacteria and epithelial cells of the lung and intestinal tract, as well as professional immune cells. I also investigate the interaction between intestinal epithelial cells and bacteria, specifically the dynamics of the normal flora in combination with the intestinal epithelium and their interaction and response to invading organisms.
IHII center affiliations: CBEID, SCVD

Janice Endsley, PhD

Bacteriology, immunology
View Department of Microbiology & Immunology profile »My research is focused on mechanisms and regulation of cell mediated immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb). An important component of my work is investigations to determine how human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) compromises CD8+T cell and macrophage function in the host immune response to M.tb. I have also extended my studies of cytotoxic lymphocytes to include natural killer cell function in infectious disease and reproduction.
IHII center affiliations: CBEID, CTD, SCVD

Rong Fang, MD, PhD

View Department of Pathology profile »We are interested in investigating the immune mechanisms by which mammalian hosts control intracellular pathogens. My current research focuses on cytosolic immune events, such as autophagy and inflammasomes, in macrophages and endothelial cells in response to cytosol-adapted pathogens. Our ongoing project(s) will be beneficial for rational design of potent vaccines.

Monique Ferguson, PhD

View Department of Internal Medicine profile »My research interests are to investigate mechanisms by which host cell factors facilitate different stages of the HIV life cycle and the development of small molecules that disrupt key virus-host interactions. In collaboration, I am focused on the development of co-culture systems: (1) to study how HIV alters the vaginal microbiome; and (2) to delineate the immunologic mechanisms of hepatic fibrosis in HIV/HCV co-infection.

Yuriy Fofanov, PhD

Bioinformatics, pathogen genomics View Sealy Center for Structural Biology & Molecular Biophysics profile »My research focuses on bioinformatics. My special interest is in Pathogen Genomics, application of next generation sequencing for identification of novel pathogens, and characterization of complex metagenomic samples.

Naomi Forrester, PhD

Pathogenesis, vector biology, virology View Department of Pathology profile »My research focuses on viral evolution, in particular within-host evolution of viruses. My research approach is to use a model system of mosquito and vertebrate infections and determine the viral evolution by deep sequencing. In addition I am using next generation sequencing to identify unknown viruses from field samples.
IHII center affiliations: CBEID, SCVD

Alexander Freiberg, PhD

Pathogenesis, structural biology, imaging, vaccine development, virology
View Department of Pathology profile »My research focuses on emerging RNA viruses, specifically the molecular mechanisms by which they cause encephalitis or hemorrhagic fever, their structure and assembly, and vaccine development. My research approaches include the characterization of the host immune response and cellular signaling pathways following infection using cell culture and small animal models.
IHII center affiliations: CBEID, CTD, SCVD

Mariano Garcia-Blanco, MD, PhD

View Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology profile »Human and viral genes are complex units of information whose tightly regulated expression produces a dazzling array of phenotypes. The Garcia-Blanco laboratory focuses on gene expression from the perspective of RNA biology. The laboratory studies gene expression and RNA-protein interactions in three biological contexts of biomedical importance: 1) Infection of human and insect cells with flaviviruses such as dengue and yellow fever viruses, 2) epithelial-mesenchymal transitions among carcinoma cells and 3) multiple sclerosis.

Roberto Garofalo, MD

View Department of Pediatrics profile » My research focuses on respiratory viral infections in infants, in particular those that are caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). We are investigating aspects of RSV pathogenesis and treatment as they relate to airway inflammation and long-term morbidity, including recurrent wheezing and chronic asthma. We use different approaches, from cellular systems, to experimental infections and naturally occurring infections in human. IHII center affiliations: CTD, SCVD

Nisha Garg, PhD

Pathogenesis, oxidative response networks and inflammation, vaccine development, cardiomyopathy
View Department of Microbiology & Immunology profile » My research focuses on understanding a) the changes in gene regulation and the signaling cascade that contribute to myocardial cytoskeletal rearrangement and mitochondrial dysfunction; and b) the role of free radicals in pathological processes, i.e., inflammation, oxidative damage, and clinical severity of cardiac disease of infectious and non-infectious etiologies. We are also working on developing a candidate vaccine against Trypanosoma cruzi and Chagas disease. Our collaborators are at the UTMB and several laboratories in Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico.

Thomas Geisbert, PhD

Pathogenesis, vaccine development, virology View Department of Microbiology & Immunology profile »My research focuses on the pathogenesis of emerging and re-emerging viruses that require Biosafety level (BSL)-4 containment and on the development of vaccines and postexposure treatments against these viruses. My work particularly emphasizes studies on viruses causing hemorrhagic fever (HF) including Ebola virus, Marburg virus, and Lassa virus.
IHII center affiliations: CBEID, CTD

Benjamin Gelman, MD, PhD

View Department of Pathology profile »Our work addresses the neurochemical, neurovirological, neuropathological and neuroimmunological effects of HIV infection and its comorbid conditions including hepatitis C. Our approach emphasizes using human tissue specimens. The current scientific focus is on the distribution and cellular identity of latent HIV in the tissues of patients with effectively suppressed virus replication. The goal is to target and destroy immune cells that support the latent pool of HIV DNA in the CNS and other body compartments.

Randall Goldblum, MD

View Department of Pediatrics profile » My current interests are largely in environmental effects on the development of diseases and on ways to reduce this burden to society by prevention of exposures and unique therapeutic products that can be used to treat these diseases.

Bin Gong, MD, PhD

Pathogenesis, structural biology/imaging, experimental pathology View Department of Pathology profile »I am interested in how the endothelial cells are injured by infections. The ongoing research projects: Multiple regulatory and signaling mechanisms that converge on VE-Cadherin underlying Rickettsia-induced endothelial barrier dysfunction; Initiating a novel direction to reveal the role of non-coding RNAs in repairing vascular damages after high consequence pathogen infections.
IHII center affiliations: CBEID

Yashoda Madaiah Hosakote, PhD

My research focuses on the investigation of virus-and host specific mechanisms that contribute to the pathogenesis of viral respiratory infections. Our goal is to dissect the novel molecular pathways of respiratory virus-induced lung inflammation in order to develop novel therapeutic interventions to treat and prevent respiratory infections using high throughput molecular and proteomics tools.

Haitao Hu, PhD

HIV/AIDS, antiviral immunity, host-virus interactions, vaccine, viral vectors, HIV latency, T cell biology View Department of Microbiology & Immunology profile »Dr. Hu's current research is focused on antiviral immunity and host-virus interactions in HIV infection and vaccination.
IHII center affiliations: SCVD

Cheng Huang, PhD

View Department of Pathology profile »My main research interests is to investigate the virus-host interaction and the pathogenesis of highly pathogenic arenavirus viruses as well as the development of vaccines and therapeutics against pathogenic arenavirus infection.

Grant Hughes, PhD

Bacteria-host interactions, microbiome, symbiosis, Wolbachia, vector biology View Department of Pathology profile »My research focuses on the tripartite interactions between mosquitoes, their microbes and the pathogens they transmit. We are interested in identifying the mechanisms behind bacterial modulation of vector competence and bacteria employ to facilitate their own vertical transmission. This will help develop bacterial-mediate control strategies to reduce arthropod-borne disease.

Tetsuro Ikegami, PhD

Vaccine development, virology View Department of Pathology profile »My research focuses on the development of countermeasures against Rift Valley fever (RVF). My research approaches include reverse genetics to rescue various recombinant Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) mutants, characterize innate and adaptive immune responses against those RVFV mutants, testing the efficacy of various vaccine candidates for RVF.
IHII center affiliations: CBEID, CTD, SCVD

M. Firoze Khan, PhD

View Department of Pathology profile »Dr. Khan's research interests include: oxidative stress and autoimmune diseases; chemical-induced autoimmunity; molecular mechanisms of splenic toxicity of aromatic amines; and biomarkers of chemical exposure.

Thomas Ksiazek, DVM, PhD

View Sealy Center for Vaccine Development profile » Epidemiology/ecology and laboratory diagnosis of hemorrhagic fevers and arthropod-borne viral diseases. Consultant on operational biosafety and facility design to USDA, DOD, DHS, and several international laboratories. High containment laboratory and field operations experience in national laboratories for over 35 years. International experience includes long-term professional assignments in England, Taiwan, Indonesia and Egypt as well as extensive outbreak experience in Asia, Africa and South America.

Alexander Kurosky, PhD

View Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology profile » I have had a long standing interest in protein structure, function, and genetics in many biomedical scenarios. Currently, my research efforts center on the application of proteomics technologies to study airway diseases, especially asthma. Ongoing investigations include signaling pathways in eosinophils that impact asthma and asthma related steroid resistance.

Jun-Ho La, DVM, PhD

View Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology profile »Dr. La’s research focuses on sensory neuronal plasticity in peripheral and central nervous system as a mechanism of, and a therapeutic target for, chronic neuropathic, inflammatory, and functional pain. One of his main research interests is sensory neuron-immune cell interactions leading to postinfectious/postinflammatory chronic pain.

Michael Laposata, MD, PhD

View Department of Pathology profile »Dr. Laposata is the Chair of the Department of Pathology. His primary research interests are: (1) fatty acid alterations in patients with cystic fibrosis, and (2) diagnostic mistakes, particularly involving evaluation of patients for bleeding and thrombotic disorders.

William Lawrence, PhD

View Department of Microbiology & Immunology profile »Dr. Lawrence’s research focuses on the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of anthrax infection with special emphasis on the physiological effects of anthrax toxins. He is also involved in the evaluation of drugs, monoclonal antibodies, and vaccines that inhibit anthrax disease progression. This research will aid in the discovery of new anthrax prophylactics and therapeutics.

James LeDuc, PhD

Virology, vector biology, bacteriology, global health, public health policy View Department of Microbiology & Immunology profile »Dr. LeDuc directs the Galveston National Laboratory, where basic and applied research is conducted on viruses, bacteria and rickettsia under various levels of biocontainment (BSL2, 3 and 4).
IHII center affiliations: CBEID, CTD, SCVD

James Lee, PhD

Molecular biophysics of signaling, structural biology/imaging View Molecular Biophysics Track (MBET) profile »My laboratory is interested in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of regulation, in particular, the ground rules employed in recognizing specific targets and transmitting of signals among these macromolecular components.
IHII center affiliations: CTD, SCVD

Michael Loeffelholz, PhD, D(ABMM)

View Department of Pathology profile »Dr. Loeffelholz is the director of the Clinical Microbiology Division of the Department of Pathology. His research interests include the development and evaluation of state of the art diagnostic tests for infectious diseases. This includes not only the diagnostic performance of laboratory tests, but how they impact patient outcomes and healthcare costs.


Alphabetical Listing of IHII Members:  A - C  |  D - L  |  M - R  |  S - Z