|Education||BS, Towson University|
The gut and Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT), which include both mucosal lymphoid structures of and the draining lymph nodes of the gut, is the largest immunological site in the human body. An early hallmark of HIV infection is rapid depletion of CD4+ T cells from the GALT. During acute and chronic HIV infection infected individuals exhibit enteropathy not unlike those presented in IBD disorders.
The goals of my project are to understand how Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) causes disease in the gut of our Macaque models of HIV and how it contributes to overall SIV disease progression. Of specific interest is how Leukocytes in the gut change in response to SIV infection including their number, surface marker composition, and functionality. Understanding of various cytokine cascades in the gut which involve both innate and acquired immunity are being investigated through gene expression assays. Additionally, serotonin metabolism dysregulation is of particular interest in our lab as it is thought to contribute to HIV associated neurological disease (HAND). The gut is a major site of serotonin synthesis and may play a role in this overall serotonin dysregulation through modulation of Indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) and/or other tryptophan dioxygenases. We are studying this through evaluation of multiple genes along the Kynurenine pathway.
Some of the approaches used in our studies include: Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis, Viral Outgrowth Assays, Immunohistochemistry (IHC), real-time PCR, digital droplet pcr (ddPCR), Nanostring nCounter(R) technology, Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization Time of Flight tandem Mass Spectrometry (MALDI Tof/Tof MS), and Triple Quadrupole Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).