Vector-borne diseases are the highest known cause of global human fatality. Many microbes survive in discrete sets of vertebrate and arthropod hosts and lead to well-known diseases including malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, sleeping sickness, and leishmaniasis. Our primary research interest is to study microbial pathogenesis and host-pathogen interactions to understand the mechanisms by which arthropod-borne pathogens persist in nature. Ongoing focus of my laboratory is a bacterial pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is responsible for Lyme disease or Lyme borreliosis , the most prevalent arthropod-borne disease in the United States, and in Europe and parts of Asia. The microbe persists in nature through a tick-rodent infection cycle. B. burgdorferi is transmitted to its natural host (rodents) or to accidental hosts (humans and domestic animals) via ticks belonging to the Ixodes scapularis complex. B. burgdorferi invades and persists in multiple organs in mammals inducing an array of clinical complications. The recent introduction of investigative biology tools in genomics and proteomics have significantly contributed to our ability to unravel the molecular mechanisms of B. burgdorferi persistence in its complex enzootic cycle. In our ongoing research efforts, we have made use of these recent advances to elucidate the molecular details by which B. burgdorferi enters, persists and is transmitted through tick and mammals. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis and special biology at the host pathogen interfaces will contribute towards development of therapeutic strategies to interrupt transmission of vector-borne diseases, for which vaccines are mostly unavailable.
Positions and Employment
1988-1990: Junior Research Fellow, University of Calcutta; 1991-1993: Senior Research Fellow, Labonya Prova Bose trust; 1994-1997: Postdoctoral Fellow, IICB; 1998-2002: Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University School of Medicine; 2002-2006: Associate Research Scientist, Yale University School of Medicine; 2006-2011: Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park; 2011-Current: Associate Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, 2016-Current: Full Professor, University of Maryland, College Park; 2016-Current, Director, Veterinary Medical Sciences (VMSC) Graduate Program
Current Lab Members
Xiuli Yang, PhD, Research Assistant Professor < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Kamoltip Promnares PhD, Research Assistant Professor <email@example.com>
Preeti Singh, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Juraj Koci, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow < email@example.com@umd.edu>
Alexis Smith, PhD, Affiliated (Postdoctoral) Fellow < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Xuran Zhuang, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow < email@example.com>
Quentin Bernard, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Meghna Thakur, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow <email@example.com>
Shelby Foor, B.S, Graduate (PhD) Student <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nichole Guevara (Internship) <email@example.com>
Smith AA, Navasa N, Yang X, Wilder CN, Buyuktanir O, Marques A, Anguita J, Pal U. Cross-Species Interferon Signaling Boosts Microbicidal Activity within the Tick Vector. Cell Host Microbe 20(1): 91-8, 2016
Yang X, Lin Y, Heselpoth RD, Buyuktanir O, Qin J, Kung F, Nelson DN, Leong JM, and Pal U. Middle region of a Borrelia burgdorferi surface protein interacts with host chondroitin-6-sulfate and independently facilitates infection. Cell Microbiol 18(1):97-110., 2016.
Kung F Kaur S, Smith AA, Yang X, Wilder CN, Sharma K, Buyuktanir O, and Pal U. A Borrelia burgdorferi surface-exposed transmembrane protein lacking detectable immune responses supports pathogen persistence and constitutes a vaccine target. J Infect Dis 213(11): 1786-95, 2016.
Ye M, Sharma K, Thakur M, Smith AA, Buyuktanir O, Xiang X, Yang X, Promnares K, Lou Y, Yang XF, Pal U. HtrA, a Temperature- and Stationary Phase-Activated Protease Involved in Maturation of a Key Microbial Virulence Determinant, Facilitates Borrelia burgdorferi Infection in Mammalian Hosts. Infect Immun 84(8):2372-81, 2016
Kariu T, Sharma K, Singh P, Smith AA, Backstedt BT, Buyuktanir O, and Pal U. BB0323 and novel virulence determinant BB0238: Borrelia burgdorferi proteins that interact with and stabilize each other and are critical for infectivity. J Infect Dis 211: 462-71, 2015.
Yang X, Smith AA, Williams MS, and Pal U. A Dityrosine Network Mediated by Dual Oxidase and Peroxidase Influences the Persistence of Lyme DiseasPathogens within the Vector. J Biol Chem 289: 12813-22, 2014.
Lin Y, Benoit V, Yang X, Martínez-Herranz R, Pal U and Leong JM. Strain-specific variation of the decorin-binding adhesin DbpA influences the tissue tropism of the Lyme disease spirochete. PLoS Pathog 10(7): e1004238, 2014.
Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/browse/collection/48531061/?sort=date...