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Our research interests

We study the pathways by which viruses cross cellular barriers and the mechanisms by which these barriers restrict viral infections. Our studies primarily focus on the epithelium that lines the gastrointestinal tract and on placental trophoblasts, the cells that comprise the primary cellular barrier of the human placenta. Our work is highly multidisciplinary and encompasses aspects of cell biology, immunology, and microbiology. Our long-term goals are to identify virus- and host-specific therapeutic targets to prevent or treat viral infections and ultimately to the alleviate morbidity and mortality caused by these infections.


Primary human intestinal organoid. MUC2-positive goblet cells are in green and actin is in red (DAPI-stained nuclei in blue).

Primary human intestinal organoid. MUC2-positive goblet cells are in green and actin is in red (DAPI-stained nuclei in blue).

Enterovirus infections in the gastrointestinal tract.


 

Human mid-gestation chorionic villi. Trophoblasts are shown in green (cytokeratin-19) and actin is in red (DAPI-stained nuclei in blue).

Antiviral signaling at the maternal-fetal interface.


Immunohistochemistry for the VP1 capsid protein in the liver of a mouse infected with echovirus 11.

Immunohistochemistry for the VP1 capsid protein in the liver of a mouse infected with echovirus 11.

Enterovirus receptors and entry.

 
Toxoplasma gondii (green) infection in human U2OS cells (actin in red and DAPI-stained nuclei in blue).

Toxoplasma gondii (green) infection in human U2OS cells (actin in red and DAPI-stained nuclei in blue).

TORCH infections and the placental barrier.

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The UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Our laboratory is located in the Department of Pediatrics at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. CHP was ranked 7th in the nation overall in the 2016-2017 U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of America's "Best Children's Hospitals and was ranked 7th in NIH funding for FY 2013. The University of Pittsburgh holds >$400 million of NIH funding and ranks fifth among more than 3,000 entities that receive NIH support. The CHP and Pitt community offers an extremely collegial environment, with expertise in microbial pathogenesis, immunology, cell biology, structural biology, and many other disciplines.

 
 
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