PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago
Room: 8139 COMRB
Website: Alonzo Lab
Our laboratory studies the pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. We are interested in determining how S. aureus adjusts from a lifestyle as a transient commensal to a virulent pathogen through metabolic adaptation and evasion of host immune defenses. We currently investigate the mechanisms of action of several novel immunomodulatory factors produced by S. aureus that perturb macrophage pro-inflammatory activity. This modulation of innate immune cell function enhances pathogenic outcomes during infection. Our research uses elements of bacterial genetics, biochemistry, immunology, and cell biology to define how virulence factors modulate immune cell function. In addition, we investigate the effect of nutritional restriction within host tissues on S. aureus viability. In doing so, we aim to identify novel mechanisms used by S. aureus to adapt to life inside an infected host. We anticipate this work will stimulate the development of novel therapeutics designed to treat diseases caused by S. aureus with potential applicability to pathogens that behave in similar ways.