Host immune responses to Leishmania chagasi infection
When humans are infected with Leishmania chagasi the outcome of infection is primarily determined by the host immune response. Individuals that clear the infection successfully generate a Th1 immune response against the parasite, where as enhanced parasite survival and disease progression is seen in individuals that fail to mount a Th1 response. The host immune factors that augment or inhibit the generation of a L. chagasi-specific Th1 response are not well understood. My research involves developing an animal model using luciferase-expressing parasites to visualize the L. chagasi infection in vivo. Using this model and other tools, I am beginning to study the host immune factors that regulate L. chagasi infection during parasite dissemination, survival, and clearance.
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