Tonyia D. Eaves-Pyles, PhD

Dr. Eaves-Pyles' research goals focus on understanding the interactions between pathogenic bacteria and their products and mammalian cells. On a long-term basis, she hopes to gain a better understanding of how bacteria and their products exploit host cells by inducing and/or evading immune responses which result in injury to the host. She is examining, characterizing and analyzing the interaction of Francisella tularensis Schu4, Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei with primary human alveolar type II cells. By examining the pulmonary innate immune response to Francisella and Burkholderia, Dr. Eaves-Pyles' seeks to better understand the role of alveolar epithelial cells during a Francisella or Burkholderia infection and identify how these cells might initiate clearance of these organisms through the signaling/induction of immune cells and determine the role of alveolar type II surfactant secretion during these infections. These studies will provide ground-breaking, vital information for understanding the interaction between F. tularensis or Burkholderia and host cells essential for understanding the pathogenicity of tularemia and will open up novel avenues for new vaccine development.

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