|Department Affiliations||JHSPH Molecular, Microbiology & Immunology; JHUSOM Infectious Diseases|
|SOM Address||E5132 Bloomberg School of Public Health|
We are interested in the big question of why some host-microbe interactions produce disease while others are tolerated and beneficial. Although our laboratory works with several microbes our major focus is the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, a ubiquitous environmental microbe that kills over 600,000 people per year. The fungus causes lung infection, including a particularly dangerous fungal meningitis observed primarily in immune-compromised patients such as those with AIDS.
Many of the laboratory’s projects seek to understand how hosts defend against C. neoformans and how the Cryptococcus organism’s virulence contributes to disease. For example, melanin production in C. neoformans, is associated with virulence. Melanin is a pigment with an undefined chemical structure and tremendous physical stability. This pigment accumulates in the cell wall of C. neoformans where it provides structural strength and protects against immune attack. But melanin research also has wide reach beyond virulence: an antibody to fungal melanin made in the Casadevall laboratory is currently in evaluation for the treatment of melanoma, a type of skin cancer and melanin has been shown to mediate energy transduction in fungi.
In recent years the laboratory has also worked with other microorganisms including Bacillus anthracis, a bacterium that causes anthrax and is a major agent of biological warfare because it produces spores that can be easily dispersed. We pride ourselves in that we take a multidisciplinary approach to our work that includes molecular biochemical, immunological and physical chemical techniques.
- Chow SK, Smith C, MacCarthy T, Pohl MA, Bergman A, Casadevall A. (2013) Disease-enhancing antibodies improve the activity of toxin-neutralizing antibodies. Cell Host Microbe 13(4):417-28.
- Bowen A, Casadevall A (2015) Increasing disparities between resource inputs and outcomes, as measured by certain health deliverables, in biomedical research. PNAS 112(36):11335-40.
- Coelho C, Oliveira Souza AC, Derengowski L, de Leon-Rodriguez C, Wang B, Leon-RiveraR, Bocca, AL, Gonçalves T, Casadevall A (2015) Macrophage mitochondrial and stress response to ingestion of Cryptococcus neoformans. J. Immunol. 194(5):2345-57.
- Stukes S, Coelho C, Rivera J, Jedlicka AE, Hajjar KA, Casadevall A (2016) The Membrane Phospholipid Binding Protein Annexin A2 Promotes Phagocytosis and Non-lytic Exocytosis of Cryptococcus neoformans and Impacts Survival in Fungal Infection. J Immunol. 2016 Jul 1. pii: 1501855. [Epub ahead of print].
- McClelland EE, Ramagopal UA, Rivera J, Cox J, Nakouzi S, Prabu MM, Almo SC and Casadevall A (2016) A Small Protein Associated with Fungal Energy Metabolism Affects the Virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans in Mammals. PLOS Pathogens (in press).