New Scholar Award in Global Infectious Disease
Yasmine Belkaid, Ph.D.
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Latency, Reactivation and Immunity in Chronic Parasitic Disease

Infection whether by viruses (e.g. herpes viruses), bacteria (e.g. Mycobacteria sp) or parasites (e.g. Leishmania sp), often results in the asymptomatic persistence of pathogens within the tissues of hosts. The long-term goal of our research program is to understand the principal mechanisms and consequences of such latent infections. We have shown that, by suppressing parasite elimination, CD4+,CD25+ regulatory T-cells (Treg), are essential for the development of latent infection with leishmania. Maintenance of latency is also tightly linked to Treg: increases in lesional Treg trigger disease reactivation and prevent the expression of concomitant immunity. We aim to define the mechanisms by which Treg favor parasite persistence, promote reactivation and suppress immunity, with the ultimate goal of devising novel therapeutic approaches to the chronic infections that cause widespread suffering throughout the world.

Contact Dr. Belkaid.