Host Pathogen Interactions
Monica Alvarez is looking at the functional intersect of human genetic variation and susceptibility to Typhoid fever. Specifically, she studies how human genetic variation that decreases expression of VAC14, a host phosphoinositide scaffolding protein, modulates membrane lipids and subsequently increases Salmonella Typhi invasion. This association is not only seen in tissue culture but was also confirmed in a Typhoid Susceptibility study in Vietnam. Additionally, Monica has created a Zebrafish model to study early Salmonella infection. This model has shown that pretreating the Zebrafish with lipid-modifying drugs has a protective effect against Salmonella Typhi infection. This project has added to our understanding of basic host-pathogen interactions and may also have implications for prophylactic therapeutics against Typhoid Fever.