Associate Professor (601) 815-1235 Fax: (601) 984-1708EmailEducation PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Research in the Akerley lab focuses on the pathogenicity of Haemophilus influenzae, a bacterium that normally colonizes the human nasopharynx asymptomatically yet is a frequent cause of disease because of its ability to spread to other sites including the bloodstream, the middle ear, or the lungs. Asymptomatic colonization involves a balance between bacterial virulence mechanisms that promote infection and host defenses that limit infection. Disease occurs when this balance is disrupted, favoring proliferation and spread of the pathogen. Interactions between H. influenzae and the host are also markedly influenced by co-infecting pathogens such as the influenza A virus, which renders individuals highly susceptible to secondary bacterial pneumonia. Our lab seeks to understand how H. influenzae persists during infection when faced with the host immune response, varying nutrient availability, the normal flora, and co-infecting pathogens.
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