research is focused on understanding the determinants of immunity and
molecular mechanisms related to the immunopathogenesis in leishmaniasis.
We have characterized a program of Leishmania-induced alternative
macrophage activation in progressive visceral leishmaniasis, defining
the regulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase and arginase in
macrophages and fibroblasts, and identifying the key role of STAT6
signaling. We have also investigated the impact of malnutrition on
innate immunity and visceral leishmaniasis, and ongoing work is focused
on characterizing the mechanisms of impairment of lymph node function
during polynutrient deficiency. We have used several approaches to
identify vaccine candidates for leishmaniasis, and have defined vaccine
efficacy in experimental infection models. We are particularly
interested in the use of vaccination to interrupt transmission from the
reservoir host (dogs) to the insect vector (sand flies) in regions
endemic for visceral leishmaniasis.
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