Host-Microbial Interactions
Center for
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    New Vaccine Production Could Improve Flu Shot Accuracy

    For decades, vaccine manufacturers have used chicken eggs to grow the flu virus strains included in the seasonal flu shot. But because these human strains frequently mutate to adapt to their new environment in eggs, the resulting vaccine is often an imperfect match to the actual virus that it is supposed to protect against. Duke researchers have devised a way to keep the human influenza virus from mutating during production, generating a perfect match to the target vaccine in a shorter time frame.

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    Investigational vaccine protected monkeys from HIV-like virus

    Building on insights from an HIV vaccine regimen in humans that had partial success during a phase 3 clinical trial in Thailand, a Duke research team led by Dr. Haynes used a more-is-better approach in monkeys that appeared to improve vaccine protection from an HIV-like virus.

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    Aballay and Valdivia elected fellows of American Academy of Microbiology

    Professors of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Alejandro Aballay, PhD and Raphael Valdivia, PhD, were recently elected as fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, an honorific leadership group within American Society of Microbiology.

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    Cancer-Causing Virus Masters Cell's Replication and Immortality. Epstein-Barr virus steers the B-cell to hide in plain sight

    In a paper appearing in the open access journal eLife, a team of researchers from Duke’s School of Medicine and CHoMI details just how the Epstein-Barr virus manages to persist so well inside the immune system’s B cells, a type of white blood cell that is normally responsible for recognizing and responding to foreign invaders.

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The Center for Host-Microbial Interactions (CHoMI) provides an interdepartmental intellectual home for Duke investigators who are interested in this broad area of research. CHoMI was originally conceived as the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, which was designed to build on the success of the mycology group at Duke and strengthen bacterial pathogenesis initiatives at our institution. Following the successful recruitment of new faculty, the Center has evolved into a community of 40 laboratories spanning a number of departments and divisions that are focused on the study of various unique aspects of host-microbial interactions.

Specific areas of research and expertise within the CHoMI community include:

  • Model hosts to study host-microbial interactions
  • Infectious complications in immunocompromised hosts
  • Mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis using the tools of fungal and bacterial genetics
  • Genomic technology to address microbial pathogenesis
  • Immune responses triggered by pathogen-associated molecular patterns
  • Population biology of microbes
  • Virus-host interactions
  • Microbiome influence on susceptibility to infections, host physiology, and disease
  • Human genetic basis for determinants of susceptibility to infections and inflammatory disorders
  • Host-pathogen interactions via bacterial vesicle production
  • Characterization of novel virulence factors

[Please visit our Faculty page for detailed information regarding individual research programs and laboratory websites. Visit our History page to learn more about the center.]

The overall goals of the Center for Host-Microbial interactions (CHoMI) are to provide members with:

  • A supportive and interactive atmosphere where colleagues with common interests in host-pathogen interactions can interact and collaborate.
  • A robust training environment for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, medical students, and medical fellows with an interest in training in the field.
  • An environment for recruiting future outstanding faculty to Duke University Medical Center to join us in our quest to understand the molecular nature of the host-pathogen interaction and develop the means to intercede for therapy.

Members of the Center for Host-Microbial Interactions (CHoMI) are well-supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, among many others.

In addition, the Center provides a wide variety of opportunities for trainees, including the NIH-funded Molecular Mycology and Pathogenesis Training Program (MMPTP), which comprises Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), and North Carolina State University (NCSU), and provides post-doctoral research training and support for basic science and clinical fellows in the field of mycology.

We invite you to explore this website, and to contact us if you are interested in further information about the Center for Host-Microbial Interactions at Duke University.

Jörn Coers, PhD
Director, Center for Host-Microbial Interactions