Directory

Director

Donald A Harn

Professor
Infectious Diseases
dharn@uga.edu | Website
706-542-4569

We focus on vaccine design, development and delivery. We are in trials in China and the Philippines to determine if administration of schistosome vaccines to water buffalo and cattle will help interrupt transmission of this disease. We also study the negative impact helminth infection has on vaccines in general. We are working with collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania and Advaxis Inc., to develop Listeria vector HIV-1 vaccines that drive the desired, vaccine-specific immune responses in helminth-infected recipients. We recently developed VacSIM, a “plug and play” new vaccine delivery platform. VacSIM enhances antigen presenting cell recruitment and activation to the vaccine delivery site via slow release of vaccine components. We are currently testing VacSIM with malaria and influenza vaccines.

Members

Walid Alali

Associate Professor
Center for Food Safety
walali@uga.edu 

I am a Veterinary Epidemiologist working mostly in the areas of food safety and public health. My research expertise is primarily in area of pre- and post-harvest food safety epidemiology including interventions aimed at controlling foodborne pathogens in food, particularly poultry products.


Sonia M Altizer

Associate Dean Academic
School of Ecology
saltizer@uga.edu | Website
706-542-9251

My research explores the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions in natural populations.  I am especially interested in the effects of host behavior on pathogen transmission, and in genetic and environmental determinants of host susceptibility and parasite virulence.  Examples of questions I’ve focused on include:  How does seasonal long-distance migration affect parasite transmission and host-parasite coevolution? Does social contact in animals increase their exposure to infectious disease?  How does seasonality of breeding and social behavior affect disease spread?  I am also interested in the intersection of infectious disease ecology and wildlife conservation


Fikri Avci

Assistant Professor
Center for Molecular Medicine
avci@uga.edu | Website
706-542-4401

We are an interdisciplinary research group at the interface of carbohydrate research and immunology. Our objective is to explore the treatment of and protection from infectious diseases and cancer by understanding key molecular and cellular interactions between the components of the immune system and carbohydrate antigens associated with microbes or cancers.

Our research program is directed at: delineating immune mechanisms involved in the carbohydrate-mediated adaptive immune response, and designing, synthesizing and testing vaccine targets against model pathogens and cancers. Our research approach involves: (1) identification of the molecular interactions involved in uptake, processing and presentation of carbohydrate antigens by the antigen presenting cells (APCs), (2) isolation and characterization of T cells and their epitopes generated from model carbohydrate antigens, (3) understanding the basis for cellular and humoral immune responses induced by carbohydrate presentation and recognition that enable eradication of disease-causing agents, (4) design and synthesis of new-generation therapeutic and/ or prophylactic agents based on the knowledge gained from mechanisms discovered.


Steven E Bellan

Assistant Professor
Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Steve.Bellan@uga.edu | Website

706-542-9394

I take a broad quantitative perspective to address applied questions in infectious disease epidemiology. My research spans multiple pathogen systems (HIV, Ebola, anthrax, rabies) but is united by an overarching theme: the integration of mathematical and statistical models with empirical data to understand infectious disease processes and how to control them. I use simulation models of how diseases spread at the population level an to interpret available data and to plan rigorous empirical studies. My research particularly focuses on this intersection between epidemiological study design and transmission dynamics–that is, I aim to improve study design and interpretation by understanding the dynamical transmission processes underlying an epidemic and how they might bias studies.


Roy D Berghaus

Professor
Population Health
berghaus@uga.edu | Website
706-583-5501

The primary focus of my research activities is on the use of analytical epidemiology and applied biostatistics to address population-based animal health issues, particularly those that may impact human health.


Melinda Brindley

Assistant Professor
Infectious Diseases
mbrindle@uga.edu | Website
706-542-5796

I am a molecular virologist with experience in several virus systems, including retroviruses, filoviruses, paramyxoviruses, and recently arenaviruses, alphaviruses, and flaviviruses. Throughout my career I have focused on how viruses enter cells, both at the molecular level, examining small conformational changes that occur in viral fusion proteins, as well as the cellular level, determining the cell factors that facilitate virus entry. Currently, the lab is focused on two areas, arenavirus entry and arbovirus transmission and pathogenesis. We examine arenavirus entry using biochemical approaches to define microdomains within the Lassa fever virus glycoprotein complex, specifically the receptor binding sites, neutralizing epitopes, and the regions required for fusion activation. The arbovirus transmission studies are focusing on mosquito transmission under different environmental variables (temperature, humidity, etc). In addition, we have started work defining Zika cell tropism and Zika pathogenesis in the brain using a variety of models. The Zika work is a collaborative effort with several labs at UGA (Moore, Chen, Stice, and Murdock).


Corrie C Brown

Professor
Pathology
corbrown@uga.edu
706-542-5842

My laboratory focuses on studying the pathogenesis of infectious diseases of food-producing animals.  We do immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization to track the path of pathogens through the body.  Diseases we focus on include Newcastle disease, vesicular stomatitis, and peste des petits ruminants.


Mark Brown

Professor
Entomology; Neuroscience

mrbrown@uga.edu | Website

Neuroendocrinology of development, reproduction, and metabolism in insects;
evolution of peptide hormone structure and function.


James E Byers

Associate Dean Administrative
School of Ecology
jebyers@uga.edu | Website

706-542-2968

I have broad ecological research interests in marine community and population ecology that involve the study of the effects of parasites on communities and species interactions. My work on parasites is focused most intensively on ecological parasitology and is concentrated in three general areas: 1) Understanding what environmental factors control parasite abundance and diversity, 2) Examining the effects of parasites on hosts and community structure, and 3) Developing parasites as tools for conservation applications, particularly as biological indicator species. I have focused particular attention on the parasites associated with non-native species, including the novel parasites they vector into new regions and the parasite escape they experience by leaving many of their native parasites behind upon introduction. I work extensively with digenetic trematode parasites, particularly in mollusc and crustacean hosts.


Jennifer L Cannon

Adjunct Associate Professor
Food Science

jcannon@uga.edu

Cannon’s past and present research interests are largely focused on improving methods for detecting viral pathogens in foods, understanding environmental persistence of foodborne viruses, and developing strategies for prevention and control of foodborne illnesses. Improved methods for detecting foodborne viruses in foods, water, and food contact surfaces are essential for identifying outbreak sources and routes of food contamination and establishing which foods/processes/settings represent the greatest risk for contamination by foodborne viruses. An understanding of virus survival and the likelihood of virus transfer to and from food surfaces is also important for assessment of risk. Development and evaluation of virucidal agents or disinfection technologies that can be applied directly on foods, in the food processing environment, or on the hands of food handlers is an area of research necessary for effective prevention and control. Dr. Cannon’s research program is applied in nature. Many of her research projects have been designed to have direct and tangible benefits to the food industry and to public health.


M. Belen Cassera

Associate Professor
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

maria.cassera@uga.edu | Website

Metabolomic approaches applied to drug target selection and validation in human pathogens; discovery and development of new chemotherapeutic interventions.


Donald Champagne

Associate Professor
Entomology

dchampa@uga.edu  Website

The art of stealing blood requires that arthropods have the ability to circumvent the efficient mechanisms vertebrates have in place to maintain hemostasis, including platelet aggregation, vasoconstriction, and clotting. This is accomplished using a remarkable array of salivary proteins. We have taken a comparative approach to the study of these salivary components, working with saliva from mosquitoes, triatomine bugs, and ticks. Novel proteins and peptides identified to date include apyrases (ATP/ADP diphosphohydrolases), lipocalin-type proteins that inhibit platelet responses to collagen and ADP, tachykinin peptides which closely mimic endogenous vasodilators, and a family of nitrophorins that function as a storage and transport system for nitric oxide. Our focus also includes the immune response that develops in the host in response to salivary antigens. This response is also manipulated by components of the saliva, and we are currently characterizing these immunomodulators. We believe that the vector modifies the environment of the bite site in a variety of ways that tend to favor parasite or pathogen entry into the host, and we anticipate that identification of the salivary components involved and their mode of action will lead to novel strategies for blocking transmission


Daniel G Colley

Professor
Microbiology
dcolley@uga.edu
706-542-4112

Dr. Colley is a research immunologist who studies  the worm infection schistosomiasis.  In addition, he is the Director of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded consortium called SCORE (Schistosomiasis Consortium for Operational Research and Evaluation), that is asking (through sub-awards) very practical questions about how better to control and elimination schistosomiasis, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.  He is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and former Director of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases.


Xiangyu Deng

Assistant Professor
Center for Food Safety-Georgia
xdeng@uga.edu
770-228-7284

Genomic epidemiology, genomics, and bioinformatics, food safety, phylogenetics and evolution


Harry W Dickerson

Associate Dean Academic
Veterinary Medicine
hwd@uga.edu
706-542-5734

Dr. Dickerson’s research interests are molecular parasitology and comparative immunology using channel catfish as a laboratory model. His laboratory utilizes molecular genetic and biological approaches to study the expression and function of genes relevant to initiation of infection by the pathogenic ciliate Ichthyophthirius multifiliis and the mechanisms of the host’s adaptive immune response against the parasite. He investigates the mechanisms of teleost B and T cell induction and memory, as well as mucosal immunity.


Roberto Docampo

Professor and GRA Eminent Scholar

Cellular Biology
rdocampo@uga.edu

706-542-8104

The Docampo lab discovered acidocalcisomes, acidic organelles rich in calcium and phosphorus that are conserved from bacteria to man  For the last few years, the lab has focused on the functions of these organelles in a variety of cells, including trypanosomatids, malaria parasites, Chlamydomonas, Dictyostelium, bacteria, human platelets, and insect, chicken, and sea urchin eggs.

The Docampo lab also found that acidocalcisomes are rich in pyrophosphate and short- and long-chain polyphosphate and that polyphosphate has a variety of novel functions in eukaryotes, from an osmoregulatory function in trypanosomes to a potent procoagulant and antifibrinolytic action in human blood. The discovery of high levels of pyrophosphate in the acidocalcisomes led to the use of pyrophosphate analogs, currently used in the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone diseases (bisphosphonates), as potential chemotherapeutic agents against parasitic protists. Some of these bisphosphonates have been shown to produce radical cures in animal models of leishmaniasis


Scott T Dougan

Associate Professor
Cellular Biology
dougan@uga.edu | Website
706-583-8194

I am a developmental biologist using the zebrafish as a model organism. My expertise is in embryological and genetic techniques that can be used in zebrafish to address question about gene function.


Michael Patrick Doyle

Professor
Retired UGA Faculty/Staff
mdoyle@uga.edu | Website

Dr. Doyle’s research is in the area of food microbiology and focuses on bacterial foodborne pathogens. Pathogens under study include Escherichia coli O157:H7 and other serotypes of enterohemorrhagic E. coli, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Clostridium botulinum. Other research areas include the development of probiotic/competitive exclusion bacteria to reduce/eliminate carriage of E. coli O157:H7 by cattle and Campylobacter jejuni by poultry, the development of treatments using approved chemicals to kill foodborne pathogens on produce, meat and poultry, the development of methods to isolate Helicobacter pylori from foods, studies on the infectious dose of Listeria monocytogenes, and studies on the ecology of Salmonella typhimurium DT104.


John M Drake

Professor
School of Ecology
jdrake@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2968

John M. Drake is Distinguished Research Professor of Ecology and Director of the Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases. His research seeks to understand the dynamics of biological populations and epidemics, focusing on how to bring experimental and observational data together with mathematical theory. Phenomena of interest include zoonotic spillover, extinction/eradication, spatial dynamics, and the behavior of infectious disease systems near tipping points. Practical applications of this work include decision support for outbreak response, mapping the spread of infectious diseases, and forecasting emergence. Current projects concern the dynamics of Ebola virus in West Africa, spread of White-nose Syndrome in bats, and the development of a new theory for early warning systems of emerging infectious diseases.

lab website daphnia.ecology.uga.edu

Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases ceid.uga.edu


Mark H Ebell

Professor
Epidemiology & Biostatistics
ebell@uga.edu
706-542-1585

Areas of expertise include respiratory tract infections, diagnosis and clinical decision rules, systematic reviews/meta-analysis, and clinical decision making.


Jorge C Escalante

Professor
Microbiology
jcescala@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2651

I am a basic-science investigator whose research interests lie in the broad area of microbial metabolism and cell function. Basic science generates new knowledge that often translates into practical applications. Research universities are unique settings where connections between basic and applied scientists are stimulated. In my professional field, this connectivity is greatly enhanced as a function of the breadth and depth of the areas of microbiology represented within a university like UGA.

My research group focuses on three areas of cell function:
Mechanisms of rapid response to stress. Unicellular organisms have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to deal with rapidly changing environments that can impose stressing conditions that jeopardize cell survival. Because stressors can be transient, response mechanisms must be rapid, effective and reversible.

Complex metabolic pathway analysis. For over two decades, we have investigated microbes make coenzyme B12, an essential human nutrient that is manufactured exclusively by microbes. Metabolic stress caused by toxic metabolites. Our work in this research area centers on the catabolism of fatty acids that are abundant in soil and the gut, two environmental niches of great interest to human health. Notably, the catabolism of these compounds generates potent cell inhibitors whose mode of action is unknown.


Ronald Etheridge

Assistant Professor
Cellular Biology

Toxoplasma’s Strategies to Manipulate Host Immunity


Donald L Evans

Professor
Retired UGA Faculty/Staff
dlevans@uga.edu

We currently utilize zebrafish and catfish to characterize an important but very early phase of the vertebrate innate immune response.  The category to which this applies is referred to as alarmins. This class of molecule functions as self-derived ligands that bind their multiple receptors that lead to inflammatory caspase activation,  secretion of proinflammatory cytokines, etc..  Towards this goal our publications (and patent) represent finding a new gene and its translated protein that has potent antimicrobial killing effects and is constitutively expressed in the serum of catfish.  As such it is also upregulated following bacterial infections.  The discovery of this histone 1X like molecule has provided a significant new class of molecules that have an orthologue in warm-blooded vertebrates and as well appears to provide the antibacterial activity of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs).  This work follows a long career where almost 3 decades ago we discovered the teleost orthologue of mammalian NK cells.  We have followed this pathway to identify mechanisms of killing, expression of receptor proteins as well a establish new models of regulations of this (now) internationally studied teleost cytotoxic cell.


Vanessa O Ezenwa

Professor
School of Ecology
vezenwa@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2288

Research in my lab focuses on host-parasite interactions in wild animal populations. We investigate how behavioral, ecological, and physiological processes at the individual level shape interactions between hosts and their parasites. We also examine the consequences of these interactions for host fitness and large-scale patterns of disease. Our work combines field studies with laboratory approaches and theory to address core questions about the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases in nature. Ongoing topics of interest in my lab include ecological and immunological consequences of microparasite-macroparasite coinfection & bi-directional interactions between & host social and reproductive behavior and infectious disease; and links between biodiversity and disease risk.


Zhen Fu

Professor
Pathology
zhenfu@uga.edu
706-542-7021

Dr. Fu has found that attenuated rabies virus activates, but pathogenic rabies virus evades, the host innate immune responses including activation of IFN pathways, induction of inflammation and apoptosis. He has further found that evasion of the host immune responses of the pathogenic virus is due to a restriction of the G protein expression. These studies have led to the creation of infectious virus clones that express innate immune molecules. These viruses have the ability to induce innate and enhance the adaptive immune responses and thus can be developed as avirulent rabies virus vaccines as well as therapeutic agents.

Furthermore, Dr. Fu is involved in the research of neuropathogenesis of rabies as well as other virus infections such as a respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus, and influenza virus. Dr. Fu is part of the NIAID Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance.


Maricarmen Garcia

Professor
Population Health
mcgarcia@uga.edu
706-542-5656

My research interest resides in the use of molecular biology approaches to control respiratory diseases of poultry. In particular, we are interested in the control of infectious laryngotracheitis virus, avian influenza, and avian mycoplasmas. The control of respiratory diseases in large populations of poultry represents an immense challenge because it is necessary to have sensitive and specific diagnostic tools, extremely effective biosecurity measures, and the use of effective vaccines. The use of molecular biology has been pivotal in the advances of molecular epidemiology, molecular diagnostics and the development of safer recombinant vaccines for poultry.


Travis C Glenn

Associate Professor
Environmental Health Science
travisg@uga.edu | Website
706-583-0662

We develop and use genetic, genomic, and next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to solve problems in environmental health, including research on infectious diseases and their vectors.  Our work includes organisms from all kingdoms of life, but currently emphasizes ticks, tick-borne diseases, and kissing bugs.  Please see our website for more information on what we do, how to access our tools, how we could collaborate, or how you could join our team.


Nicole Lynn Gottdenker

Associate Professor
Pathology
gottdenk@uga.edu | Website
706-542-6373

Research expertise:

  1. Empirical and theoretical approaches to studying effects of anthropogenic environmental change on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, particularly multi-host pathogens.
  2. Pathology and ecology of wildlife diseases
  3. Ecology of Chagas disease

Tai Guo

Professor
Vet Biosciences & Diag Imaging
tlguo1@uga.edu
706-542-8021

My qualification is based on my PhD training in immunotoxicology, certified diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology, and nearly twenty years of experience in toxicology field. I have worked as one of the two Principal Investigators for the National Toxicology Program/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Immunotoxicology Contract in areas of immunosuppression, hypersensitivity, and autoimmunity. I have conducted local lymph node assay, mouse ear swelling test, antibody-forming cell assay (Plaque assay), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, flow cytometric analysis, RNase protection assay, natural killer cell assay, mixed leukocyte responses, macrophage assays, and host resistance studies using various pathogens including influenza virus, B16F10 melanoma, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Listeria monocytogenes and Plasmodium. I am interested in studying the pathogenesis of various microorganisms including those that cause respiratory infections following exposure to toxicants, and how these interactions affect animal and human health. In addition, I would like to apply various infectious models for testing the efficacy of therapeutics.


Juan B Gutierrez

Associate Professor
Institute of Bioinformatics
jgutierr@uga.edu

My primary area of research in mathematics is dynamical systems (both finite and infinite-dimensional). My current areas of applied mathematical research span two significant problems with profound societal implications: invasive species, and malaria.

I explore mathematical and computational models that connect genes to ecology. My current direction of research includes (i) genetic control of invasive species via autocidal organisms, which are produced via phenotypic and genotypic manipulations, and (ii) landscape epidemiology of malaria, particularly in regards to the design of public health policies that address asymptomaticity and the spread of drug-resistant genes and in areas of low endemicity. I also specialize in data management of very large and heterogeneous biological datasets.


Mark Haidekker

Professor
College of Engineering | Website
mhaidekk@uga.edu
706-542-0885

Dr. Haidekker’s area of expertise lies in the bioinstrumentation/biosensing and the bioimaging areas. His primary research focus are fluorescent environment-sensitive probes, specifically, viscosity-sensitive molecular rotors. There is a wide range of applications for real-time nanoscale viscometers. Many diseases are associated with blood and plasma viscosity changes. Present-day viscometers are cumbersome to use, relatively inaccurate, and preclude serial measurements due to high maintenance effort. Molecular rotors do not have these disadvantages. The microscale resolution is essential for microscopic techniques (viscosity of cell compartments), where mechanical viscometers cannot be used at all. Molecular rotors can be targeted to specific sites, such as pathogen proteins, where the report specific binding with a change of their fluorescent properties. Molecular rotors can also be attached to fiber-optic tips, which in turn can be injected and used as in vivo sensors. A recently-discovered sensitivity of molecular rotors towards fluid shear stress can be used to explore non-Newtonian fluid behavior and to build closed-loop flow control for microfluidic systems.


Stephen L Hajduk

Emeritus Professor
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
shajduk@uga.edu
706-583-5542

Studies on the biochemistry and molecular biology of cellular communication between African trypanosomes and with host cells. Our studies on trypanosome derived extracellular vesicles has led to a collaboration with the CDC to develop new diagnostic field tests for African trypanosomiasis.


Hitesh Handa

Assistant Professor
Chemical Material & Biomedical Engineering
hhanda@uga.edu | Website

Our research is highly translational and interdisciplinary in nature. Our multidisciplinary team is developing biocompatible coatings for medical device applications. We are working towards fundamental understanding of cell/protein-surface biomolecular interactions, developing and optimizing novel biomaterials and testing these materials in appropriate animal models.


Andreas Handel

Associate Professor
Epidemiology & Biostatistics
ahandel@uga.edu | Website
706-542-7480

My research focuses on mathematical and computational modeling of within-host and between-host infectious disease dynamics


Eric Harvill

Professor
Infectious Diseases

harvill@uga.edu | Website

Interactions between microbial pathogens and host immunity in the
mouse model using bacteria that naturally infect mice and
closely related strains that are important human pathogens.


Biao He

Professor
Infectious Diseases
bhe@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2855


Sonia M Hernandez

Associate Professor
School of Forestry and Natural Resources
shernz@uga.edu | Website
706-542-9727

My lab is interested in all aspects of wildlife disease! Recent research explores how pathogens affect wildlife populations, communities and ecosystems, from an applied perspective. We attempt to understand how anthropogenic changes to the landscape affect wildlife disease dynamics. Such research encompasses the intersection of human, animal and wildlife health and integrates ecological principles to inform the field of conservation medicine.


Nancy C Hinkle

Professor
Entomology-CES
nhinkle@uga.edu
706-583-8043

As a Veterinary Entomologist, my research has focused on suppression and control of ectoparasitic and vector arthropods such as mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, mites, biting flies, higher flies, and beetles. Generally, we take a big-picture approach, working on the ecology of arthropods affecting human and animal health, and applying ecological interventions to manage pest populations and interrupt disease transmission.

Systems in which we have conducted research include companion animals and flea control; whitetail deer and biting midges transmitting bluetongue and epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses; cattle and biting flies; biological control of mosquitoes; fly suppression around dairies; and ecology and suppression of ectoparasites and arthropod pests in poultry (layer, broiler, and breeder) production operations. All of these pertain to the “One Health” concept, with human and animal health being affected by these arthropods and the pathogens they transmit. We are particularly invested in suppressing the vectors as an intervention to interrupt disease transmission and protect the health of humans and their food and companion animals.


Robert Jeff Hogan

Professor
Vet Biosciences & Diag Imaging
jhogan@uga.edu
706-542-6487

My expertise is in the development of animals models, vaccines, and therapeutic approaches against a wide range of bacterial and viral pathogens. In particular, my research is focused on pathogens requiring high containment (BSL3/ABSL3) such as highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza virus, SARS coronavirus, and Burkholderia spp. In addition, we are working with researchers in industry, the federal government, and at the University of Georgia to develop novel monoclonal antibodies for use in diagnostics and as novel therapeutics.


James T Hollibaugh

Distinguished Research Professor
School of Marine Programs
aquadoc@uga.edu
706-542-2844

Microbial ecology, including the associations between prokaryotes and metazoa


Mary K Hondalus

Director Academic
Infectious Diseases
hondalus@uga.edu
706-542-8076

Our laboratory studies the pathogenesis of two related facultative intracellular bacteria, specifically, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of human tuberculosis, and Rhodococcus equi, a serious respiratory veterinary and opportunistic human pathogen.  Through the use of bacterial genetics and in vitro and in vivo infection model systems, bacterial components necessary for disease development are identified/studied and potential vaccines are created/ evaluated for disease prevention.


Charles S Hopkinson

Director Administrative
Sea Grant Program
chopkins@uga.edu

Biogeochemistry of aquatic systems, rivers, estuaries, continental shelves, including the effects of land-use change, sea-level rise, and climate change.

Also interested in the vulnerability of human populations and human systems/institutions to climate change.


Yao-wen Huang

Professor
Retired UGA Faculty/Staff
huang@uga.edu


Mark W Jackwood

Department Head Academic
Population Health
mjackwoo@uga.edu | Website
706-542-5475

Dr. Mark W. Jackwood is a Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Population Health, at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens GA. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University of Delaware, and his Ph.D. degree in the Department of Poultry Science at The Ohio State University.

Dr. Jackwood is a Molecular Virologist and his primary area of research is the study of respiratory viruses particularly avian coronaviruses, infectious bronchitis virus and avian influenza. Dr. Jackwood’s work involves the use of molecular techniques for the identification, characterization, and control of those viruses. He also studies genetic diversity, mutation rates, and evolutionary trends among coronaviruses to elucidate mechanisms that can lead to the emergence of new viruses capable of causing diseases in animals and humans.


Liliana Jaso-friedmann

Professor
Retired UGA Faculty/Staff
ljaso@uga.edu | Website

Innate immune mechanisms are the first barrier of defense against pathogen insult and are required for the maintenance of health and survival in all animals. Our research is focused on the pathways of activation of innate immunity. Our approach has been to delineate the danger signals of the acute inflammatory response; identify the cells that bind these ligands; and study mechanisms by which cells respond. The overarching goal of our work is to utilize this approach to devise means to manipulate the innate immune system to improve animal health. We identified a novel histone H1x family member, NCAMP-1, that is a membrane pattern recognition receptor of catfish, zebrafish and mammalian leukocytes and it is now proposed to function as an inflammatory mediator when present in soluble form in serum. We hypothesize that soluble NCAMP-1 may act as an endogenous danger molecule (alarmin) and we use fish immune cells as a readout tissue to study its properties. The combination of molecular and functional in vitro approaches we take in the laboratory will determine the inflammatory pathways and the mediators that are consequently activated upon binding of NCAMP-1 to immune cells. This research should shed light onto the presently poorly characterized requirements for the formation of the macromolecular structure termed inflammasome in teleosts.


Ray Matthew Kaplan

Professor
Infectious Diseases
rkaplan@uga.edu | Website
706-542-5670

The primary research focus of my laboratory is to measure, understand and solve the problems presented by drug-resistant parasites. Parasite drug resistance is now recognized globally as one of the greatest health threats to grazing livestock. Also, in recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the use of mass drug administration to reduce the morbidity associated with helminth infections of humans, raising the likelihood that anthelmintic resistance may become a public health concern in the near future. To address this problem, my laboratory pursues research projects with four different areas of emphasis: 1. Measuring the prevalence of drug resistance 2. Studying the molecular basis of anthelmintic resistance 3. Developing in vitro and molecular diagnostic assays to detect emerging resistance in nematode populations 4. Studying and developing novel and sustainable approaches to parasite control that rely less heavily on chemical anthelmintics


Anna Cecilia Karls

Associate Professor
Microbiology
akarls@uga.edu | Website
706-583-0822

The research in our laboratory focuses on bacterial gene regulation at the level of (1) transcription initiation and (2) DNA rearrangements.  (1) Genomics, genetics, and molecular biology are used to define the RpoN regulon of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and characterize the function/regulation of RpoN-dependent genes with potential roles in pathogenesis.   (2) Biochemical and genetic approaches are used to determine the molecular mechanisms for DNA recombination mediated by the DEDD-motif recombinases that control the expression of genes involved in bacterial-host and bacteria-environment interactions.  Currently, our work focuses on the potential integrase, Irg, for the MDA phage that is associated with hyperinvasive strains of Neisseria meningitidis.


Russell Kenneth Karls

Senior Research Scientist
Infectious Diseases
rkarls@uga.edu | Website
706-542-4784

Molecular genetic, biochemical, and transcriptomic analyses of genes, gene expression, and proteins from bacteria, principally mycobacteria.
Development of live, attenuated vaccines against pathogenic mycobacteria.
Utilization of animal models for examination of candidate vaccines.
Development of diagnostic tests for tuberculosis.


Caner Kazanci

Associate Professor
Mathematics
caner@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2556

My research program lies in the interface of Mathematics and Life Sciences. I focus on modeling, simulation, and analysis of biological and ecological systems, with emphasis on mathematical and computational solutions to questions of interest, such as control, effects of impacts, evolution, and reverse engineering. My interests include ordinary, stochastic, and partial differential equation models, dynamical systems, metabolic control analysis, flux balance analysis, ecological network analysis, discrete and continuous stochastic processes, particle tracking, and software development (EcoNet). While most of my recent work is related to ecosystem ecology, most of the methodology and tools I have worked with or developed are applicable to a wide range of disciplines.


Jessica Kissinger

Director Administrative
Institute of Bioinformatics
jkissing@uga.edu | Website
706-542-6562

The Kissinger Research Group is interested in parasite genomics and the biology of genome evolution. The genomes of parasitic eukaryotes are often highly reduced, devoid of recognizable mobile elements and riddled with intracellular and lateral gene transfers. Our approach is to apply molecular, computational and phylogenetic tools to the analysis of dozens of complete parasite genomes. Projects include the development of tools for data mining, comparative genomics, assessment of the phylogenetic distribution of genes and the identification of potential diagnostic targets.


Kimberly D Klonowski

Associate Professor
Cellular Biology
klonowsk@uga.edu | Website
706-583-5576

The research of our laboratory is focused on understanding how infection at mucosal surfaces regulates the mechanisms used by CD8 T cells to migrate, differentiate, and survive long-term as memory cells in the mucosa under both homeostatic and inflammatory conditions. Using predominately mouse models of influenza infection, we are studying 1) how respiratory infection differentially regulates expression of cytokines, chemokines, and specific metabolites in the respiratory milieu, 2) how CD8 T cells responding to the respiratory infection interpret these environmental signals and 3) how cells of the innate immune system, particularly NK cells, are regulated in the lung and respond to these identical environmental signals, which together can either directly or indirectly shape the subsequent anti-influenza T cell response by affecting their lineage commitment and requirements for longevity. It is our hope that understanding these processes will provide information to intelligently design a better CD8 T cell-based influenza vaccine that does not require the currently mandated yearly reformulation.


Duncan C Krause

Professor
Microbiology
dkrause@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2671

Our research focuses on the molecular and cell biology of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which causes bronchitis and atypical or “walking” pneumonia in humans. M. pneumoniae is responsible for about 20% of all pneumonias and the leading cause of pneumonia in older children and young adults. Adherence to respiratory epithelium is mediated by a polar terminal organelle, which also constitutes the motor for gliding motility. A major goal of our research is to define the organization, assembly, regulation, and functional maturation of the terminal organelle, including the identification of potential targets for a subunit vaccine. Gliding and cytadherence are essential for mycoplasmas to evade mucociliary clearance, and we use a normal human bronchial epithelium model to explore early events in infection of the airways. Finally, we are developing a nanorod array-based biosensing platform for the rapid and effective detection of mycoplasmas in human and poultry infections.


Dennis Kyle

Professor
Cellular Biology & Infectious Diseases
Dennis.kyle@uga.eduWebsite

The discovery and development of new drugs to prevent or treat malaria and leishmaniasis. Elucidating mechanism(s) of resistance and discovering new drug treatment regimens, combinations, or strategies to overcome resistance.

 


Eric R Lafontaine

Professor
Infectious Diseases
elafon10@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2863

Dr. Lafontaine’s research program consists of identifying and characterizing surface antigens that are expressed by the gram-negative bacteria Moraxella catarrhalis, Burkholderia pseudomallei, and Burkholderia mallei, with emphasis on molecules functioning as adherence factors. Our lab’s hypothesis is that these molecules are potential vaccine antigens. Furthermore, adherence is an important step in pathogenesis by most infectious agents and we believe that studying this process will shed some light on the means by which the organisms cause disease. M. catarrhalis is a major causative agent of otitis media, sinusitis, as well as respiratory infections in patients with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Very little is known about pathogenesis by M. catarrhalis and there is currently no vaccine for this bacterium. B. pseudomallei causes melioidosis whereas B. mallei cause glanders. These two closely related bacteria are potential bioterrorism agents and there is an urgent need to understand their biology as well as develop vaccines.


Margie D Lee

Professor
Retired UGA Faculty/Staff
University of Georgia
mdlee@uga.edu

Molecular epidemiology of food safety pathogens.
Contribution of extracellular enzymes to microbial virulence.
Molecular ecology and mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance.
Molecular ecology of intestinal bacterial communities


Erin K Lipp

Professor
715 / Environmental Health Science
elipp@uga.edu | Website
706-583-8138


Jason John Locklin

Associate Professor
Chemical Material & Biomedical Engineering
jlocklin@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2359

The Locklin Group is interested in growing functional polymers from surfaces (“grafting from”) using different Surface-Initiated Polymerization techniques. This is a technique based on the growth of polymer molecules at the surface of a substrate (such as glass, metal, or plastic) in situ from a surface-bound initiator, which results in the covalent attachment of polymer molecules to this substrate. Polymer layers in which the polymer chains are irreversibly immobilized to the substrate are especially attractive for a wide variety of applications, as these layers have excellent long-term stability, even in rather adverse environments. In addition to improved stability, the number of functional groups present at a surface can be greatly enhanced by connecting large polymer molecules with functional groups (present in each monomer repeat unit) to the surface. Currently, we are using ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP), Kumada transfer polycondensation (KCTP), atom-transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and conventional free radical polymerization to grow functional coatings for the following applications: Stimuli-responsive surfaces, photo-induced mechanical motion, sensors for biological arrays, antimicrobial coatings, and enzymatic biofuel cells.


Timothy Edward Long

Adjunct Assistant Professor
tlong1@uga.edu | Website

My research interests are in the development of new drugs to treat infections. Presently, we are studying antiparasitic agents for the treatment of tropical and neglected diseases including malaria and trypanosomiasis. The compounds under investigation are based on mitochondrion-acting drugs such as atovaquone. Through collaborations with other research groups, we are working to develop a new molecular design of antagonists that have been discovered to be efficacious growth inhibitors of Plasmodium and Trypanosoma spp.


Marguerite Madden

Director Academic
Geography
mmadden@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2379

Dr. Marguerite Madden is the Director of the UGA Center for Remote Sensing and Mapping Science (CRMS) and Professor in the Department of Geography. She received her B.A. (1979) and M.A. (1984) degrees in Biology from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and her Ph.D. (1990) in Ecology from UGA. Her research over the past 28 years at UGA has focused on geographic information science (GIScience) including remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), spatio-temporal analysis, geovisualization and geographic object-based image analysis (GEOBIA). Her research applications are spatio-temporal analysis of vegetation distributions, landscape-level human impacts on natural environments, and more recently, collaborative research in animal behavior, wildlife disease, human geography and environmental design. Dr. Madden is a Past President and Fellow of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), Editor of the 2009 ASPRS Manual of GIS and current Technical Commission President of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Commission IV, “Geodatbases and Digital Mapping


Robert J Maier

Professor
Microbiology
rmaier@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2323

I work on pathogens Helicobacter pylori and Salmonella typhimurium.  Use of molecular hydrogen aids their virulence within hosts so factors required for maturation of H2-utilizing enzymes, including nickel sequestering and mobilization of the metal toward hydrogenases are of interest.  Also, the roles of oxidative stress combating enzymes and their biochemical characterization receives a large research effort.   Areas of expertise include metal acquisition and storage, metalloenzymes, nitrogen metabolism, and pathogenesis assays of Helicobacters and Enterobacteriacea.


Nancy R Manley

Distinguished Research Professor, Genetics
nmanley@uga.edu
706-542-5861

My lab studies fetal thymus development and postnatal thymus function using the mouse as a model organism. We specialize in using genetic approaches to understanding the mechanisms controlling thymus organogenesis and thymic epithelial cell (TEC) differentiation. We also study the mechanisms underlying postnatal thymic involution, based on our data suggesting that development and aging of the thymus is a continuum that shares common regulatory mechanisms across the lifespan.


Leidong Mao

Associate Professor
Electrical & Computer Engineer
mao@uga.edu | Website
706-542-1871

Dr. Mao’s research centers around the merging of nano-technology, biotechnology with Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), specifically for the medical and lab-on-a-chip applications. He focuses not only on the development, characterization, and functionalization of new materials and devices but also on physical modeling, synthesis and device fabrication


Julie Seale Martin

Assistant  Professor
Pediatrics
UGA/GRU Medical Partnership
jumartin@gru.edu
706-713-2671

My current project focuses on the development of an antigen-based diagnostic assay for Ascariasis. The target antigen was identified via immunoscreening. Preliminary data suggests that the assay may be useful in the diagnosis of early infection prior to the appearance of eggs in the stool of infected individuals.


John J Maurer

Professor
Population Health
jmaurer@uga.edu
706-542-5071


Daniel G Mead

Professor
Wildlife Disease Study
dmead@uga.edu
706-542-8790

My research centers on vector-borne viruses.  Specifically, we aim to gain a better understanding of the ecology, impact, and transmission dynamics of vector-borne viruses.  Vesicular stomatitis virus, dengue viruses, West Nile virus, bluetongue viruses, and epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses are just a few of the viruses we work with.


Kojo Anzah Mensa-wilmot

Department Head Academic
Cellular Biology
mensawil@uga.edu | Website
706-542-3355

We use chemical biology, proteomics, biochemistry and molecular genetics to study mechanisms of physiological processes in the African trypanosome, Trypanosoma brucei. We are interested in the roles of protein kinases in signal transduction pathways that regulate host-parasite interactions and parasite biology. The small molecules used in our chemical biology work have the potential to be optimized and developed into lead drugs (by our collaborators) to treat mice in a model of human African trypanosomiasis.


Deepak Mishra

Associate Professor
Geography
dmishra@uga.edu
706-542-8927

Over the past several years most of my research efforts have been devoted to the development of semi-analytical models and remote sensing techniques for monitoring coastal and shallow marine ecosystems. One of my research interests is in the area of cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom (CyanoHABs). CyanoHABs have been broadly recognized as a human and animal health problem because of the wide varieties of toxins associated with them. Despite the environmental health, human health, and animal health risks, there is no established rapid monitoring program to periodically evaluate the spatial distribution of cyanobacteria. My research interest is in developing a remote detection tool for rapid detection of cyanoHABs and quantification of the cyanobacteria concentration in freshwater systems. My ultimate goal is to develop an automated early detection and warning tool using remote sensing that will be used to warn public health officials of impending risks and to assess exposures for CyanoHAB-related outbreaks. These data could improve response times for implementing measures to reduce the frequency and severity of these blooms in future.


Michelle Momany

Associate Dean of  Academics
Arts & Sciences
mmomany@uga.edu | Website
706-542-3400

The Momany lab investigates cell patterning and growth in the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus and the model system Aspergillus nidulans.


Julie Moore

Professor
julmoore@uga.edu | Website

I have been working in the malaria field for more than 20 years, and have broad experience, ranging from field studies in malaria-endemic western Kenya, to work with a novel mouse model and in vitro cell culture systems. My contributions to the field of malaria research include extensive characterization of immunologic changes in the placental blood compartment in response to malaria, elucidation of the fetal contribution to local immunity in the malaria-infected human placenta, development of a mouse model for malaria during pregnancy which simulates the pathogenesis of human P. faciparum infection in pregnant women, and recognition and characterization of the importance of dysregulated hemostasis in placental malaria pathogenesis.


Silvia N J Moreno

Professor
Cellular Biology
smoreno@uga.edu | Website
706-542-4736

Research in my laboratory centers on the characterization of calcium homeostasis pathways in Toxoplasma gondii and trypanosomes. We discovered a new organelle, which we named the acidocalcisome because of its acidity and a large content of calcium. While characterizing the composition and function of this organelle we found that it contains large amounts of phosphorus in the form of polyphosphate and they were similar to the previously described “polyphosphate bodies”. Acidocalcisomes have now been shown to be lysosome-related organelles and found in bacteria as well as in mammalian cells.
One of the acidocalcisome markers, the vacuolar-H+-pyrophosphatase also localizes to a novel compartment in T. gondii with similar composition and function to the plant vacuole, which we named plant-like vacuole (PLV). This organelle contains a vacuolar-H+-pyrophosphatase, 2 aquaporins or water channels, a vacuolar-H+-ATPase, other transporters, and hydrolases. Experimental evidence indicates that this organelle is linked to the endosomal pathway of the parasite and may be also involved in storing important enzymes used for the maturation of secretory proteins. We are presently studying the functions and biogenesis of this organelle.
We are also interested in the isoprenoid pathway of Toxoplasma gondii. Work in collaboration with other laboratories is centered on testing isoprenoid pathway inhibitors against Toxoplasma growth in vitro and in vivo.


Vasant Muralidharan

Assistant Professor
Cellular Biology
vasant@uga.edu | Website
706-542-8947

Our focus is understanding the roles chaperones (heat shock proteins) play in allowing the parasite to establish a niche for growth within human red blood cells. We deploy a wide variety of tools to study the parasite including cellular biology, chemical biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry.


Courtney Murdock

Assitant Professor
Infectious Diseases
cmurdock@uga.edu
706-542-2083

One of the main drivers of vector-borne disease transmission in wildlife and human populations is the ecology of the insect vector. Insect vectors, parasites, and their vertebrate hosts associate in a world that is rapidly changing. Changes in habitat, water quality and quantity, pesticide use, environmental temperature, etc. can all alter the ecological relationships insect vectors have with their hosts and parasites, resulting in shifts in the distribution and abundances of insect vectors, in contact rates between vectors and their hosts, and ultimately disease transmission. Understanding these interactions will be crucial for better management of vector-borne diseases in the face of global change.  A consistent theme of my research, past, and present has been the application of ecological and evolutionary theory to better understand how parasites interact with their hosts, how parasites affect measures of host fitness, and to identify key environmental drivers of vector-borne disease transmission. To answer questions within this theme, I have adopted a variety of research frameworks, which have included research conducted in the field, mathematical modeling, and laboratory research.  My current research encompasses work within the Anopheles – human malaria and Aedes – arbovirus (Zika, chikungunya) systems.


Tamas Nagy

Associate Professor
Pathology
tnagy@uga.edu
706-202-8608

Dr. Nagy is a veterinary pathologist with expertise in laboratory animal pathology, including phenotyping of genetically engineered mice. His current collaborative projects include malaria, influenza, and Schistosoma infections.


Glen J Nowak

Director Administrative
College of Journalism & Mass Communication

gnowak@uga.edu | Website

My areas of expertise are health, risk, and media-related communications, particularly with respect to vaccines and infectious diseases. I have over 25 peer-reviewed journal publications related to health communications, risk communication, social marketing, and advertising/persuasive communication. I have 14 years of experience as a high-level communicator at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including 5 years as director of communications for CDC’s National Immunization Program and six years as director of media relations for the agency. I also have expertise and experience in communicating, advertising, and educating targeted audiences using a wide variety of communications tools and channels, along with much expertise in designing and evaluating messages and communication materials designed for journalists, policy makers, and lay audiences.


Ynes Rosa Ortega

Associate Professor
Center for Food Safety-Georgia
ortega@uga.edu
770-233-5587

Research interest in food and waterborne pathogens particularly parasites. Focused in isolation, detection, and control of parasites in food matrices as well as the epidemiology of parasites in endemic areas. Pathogens of interest include Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, Toxoplasma, microsporidia, and Giardia.


Andrew W Park

Associate Professor
School of Ecology
awpark@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2968

I develop a theory to explain and predict population and evolutionary biology of host-parasite interactions. This ranges from issues, such as the rate of emergence of drug resistance – to more abstract ideas including a machine learning framework for inferring cross-species transmission processes from parasite sequence data.


Daniel Perez

Professor
Department of Poultry Medicine

dperez1@uga.edu | Website

Influenza viruses are pathogens of great significance to public and animal health. Dr. Perez studies the changes that allow influenza viruses to jump animal species and cause disease in humans. Dr. Perez’s long-term goal is to provide a comprehensive map of molecular changes associated with animal-to-human (A2H) and human-to-human (H2H) transmission of influenza viruses. Such information is crucial to better prepare against influenza viruses with zoonotic potential and/or of pandemic concern. Dr. Perez’s laboratory uses a wide range of in vitro and in vivo approaches to better understand influenza virus host range and improve existing and/or develop new universal vaccines and antivirals. Dr. Perez contributions on the role of quail as a host for influenza viruses with expanded host range was one argument that led to banning live quail in Hong Kong poultry markets in 2002. Later, Dr. Perez’s group demonstrated the molecular aspects responsible for respiratory droplet transmission of avian influenza viruses of the H9 and H7 subtypes in ferrets (mammals). During 2005-2011, Dr. Perez was responsible for the program “Prevention and Control of Avian Influenza in the US”, a USDA-funded multi-institutional project with a comprehensive research and surveillance structure. Since 2007, The Perez’s lab is part of the NIAID-funded CEIRS Center for Research on Influenza Pathogenesis (CRIP), led by Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. In April 2015, Dr. Perez joined the Department of Population Health, University of Georgia as Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator and Caswell S Eidson Chair in Poultry Medicine within the Poultry Research and Diagnostic Center. Since 2017, Dr. Perez is also affiliated with the Center for Vaccines and Immunology.


David S Peterson

Associate Professor
Infectious Diseases
dspete@uga.edu | Website
706-542-5242

I am currently a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and a full member of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, one of the largest parasitology research groups in the country. I have extensive expertise in malaria research dating from my postdoctoral work at NIH, where I first worked on parasite resistance to antimalarial drugs, and later on the var gene family. My primary research interests are in host/malarial parasite interactions as mediated by adhesion proteins of the DBL superfamily, with our current focus being on the role of var2csa in placental malaria. Currently my laboratory is characterizing var2csa both at the functional level via protein studies, and by examining the genetic complexity of placental infections via both standard cloning techniques and via deep sequencing strategies. Recently we have also begun to characterize the antimalarial activity of a set of novel compounds related to AKT inhibitor-IV.


Frederick David Quinn

Department Head of Academic
Infectious Diseases
fquinn@uga.edu | Website
706-542-5790

It is estimated that one-third of the world’s population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, with about 2 million deaths per year and a majority of these deaths occurring in the developing world. Effective treatment regimens are generally available, but accurate and inexpensive diagnostics and vaccines are not. My research program over the past decade at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and now at the University of Georgia has focused on identifying and studying mechanisms of M. tuberculosis pathogenesis, and using these factors as therapeutic, diagnostic and vaccine targets. Using the latest molecular tools, imaging technologies, and in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models, we have identified several new virulence determinants and are in the process of testing the protective efficacy of novel vaccines and diagnostic tests based on these pathogenic factors.


Balazs Rada

Assistant Professor
Infectious Diseases
radab@uga.edu | Website
706-542-3473

Research in my laboratory investigates reactive oxygen species-based host-microbe interactions at the respiratory mucosa. We study mechanisms of reactive oxygen species production in airway epithelial cells and white blood cells and their importance in microbial killing, epithelial wound healing, recruitment of white blood cells and unfolding of the innate immune response. When out of control, reactive oxygen species can cause serious tissue damage and contribute to disease pathology in chronic inflammatory conditions of the airways such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In parallel, research interest in our group also focuses on roles of redox-active microbial toxins in virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacterium infecting the airways of majority of cystic fibrosis patients.


Stephen Lynn Rathbun

Professor
Division Non-Traditional Education & Outreach
rathbun@uga.edu
706-542-6302

Although I am currently a biostatistician, through the mid-1980s I had a career as a field ecologist. Despite pursuing a career in biostatistics, I have maintained my interests in ecology through collaboration with ecologists at the University of Georgia and Pennsylvania State University. My training in spatial statistics is well suited to the investigation of the ecology and epidemiology of infectious diseases, the latter of which cannot be fully comprehended without the former. Bayesian hierarchical spatio-temporal models are well suited to describing the ecology of infectious diseases. Such models may include a process model, a data model, and a
prior model. The process model may be used to describe the data we would ideally like to but is impractical to obtain. For example, Markovian spatio-temporal models may be constructed based on difference equations to describe the transmission of an infectious disease in a spatially distributed population. The data model describes the distribution of the observable data conditional on the realization of the process model, while the prior model describes prior beliefs regarding all model parameters. Bayesian hierarchical modeling provides a framework for combining data from multiple sources as for example brought by the various investigators on a multi-disciplinary research team.


Olin Eugene Rhodes

Director Administrative
Savannah River Ecology Lab
rhodes@srel.uga.edu | Website
803-725-8417

Over the past decade my students, postdocs and I have worked on a variety of research questions pertaining to parasites and diseases of wildlife species.  Research foci have included conceptual studies on the genetic structuring of parasite populations, relationships between host social structure and transmission dynamics of parasites and diseases, studies of the ecology of prominent wildlife hosts for diseases like rabies, leptospirosis, canine distemper and parasites such as ticks and roundworms, and studies focused on optimization of mitigation and treatment programs for parasites and diseases of concern to human health.  In addition, I served as the Assistant Director of the National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins Colorado for ~1.5 years, where I oversaw all of the center’s wildlife disease programs, namely those involving rabies, chronic wasting disease, avian influenza, and a variety of other pathogens of interest to human and domestic animal health.


Pejman Rohani

Professor
School of Ecology
rohani@uga.edu
706-542-8838

Infectious disease ecology, modeling, computational methods applied to pertussis, measles, dengue, polio and avian influenza viruses.


Ted Ross

Professor
Infectious Diseases
tedross@uga.edu | Website

Dr. Ross explores new vaccine technologies for seasonal and pandemic influenza as well as West Nile Virus, Dengue Chikungunya, Ebola, and HIV.


Robert S Sabatini

Associate Professor
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
sabatini@uga.edu | Website
706-542-1737

We study African trypanosomes, unicellular eukaryotic protozoa that infect the bloodstream of mammals to cause sleeping sickness in equatorial Africa. While they reside in the mammalian bloodstream, trypanosomes are able to evade the host’s immune response by regularly changing their variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) coat, a process called antigenic variation, allowing long-term survival of these parasitic organisms within the host. Switching the VSG that is expressed is accomplished primarily by recombination of a new VSG gene into a telomeric expression site. Research in the laboratory has implicated a novel modified DNA base, called base J, in the regulation of VSG gene expression. This modified base represents a specific modification of thymine residues where a large glucose moiety is covalently attached to the base and extends into the major groove of the DNA helix. Therefore, understanding the mechanism/regulation of base J synthesis will help us understand the regulation of antigenic variation.
Unusually for a eukaryote, all trypanosome gene transcription is polycistronic where regulated gene expression is thought to rely solely on posttranscriptional processes rather than transcription initiation. However, we recently localized base J to the transcription start sites of polycistronic gene clusters where its removal led to changes in Pol II transcription initiation, gene expression, and virulence. The goal is to elucidate the mechanism of J regulation of gene expression and determine what role base J synthesis plays during essential changes that occur throughout the parasite lifecycle. Hopefully, these studies will lead ultimately to novel targets for anti-parasitic interference.


Kaori Sakamoto

Director Academic
Infectious Diseases
kaoris@uga.edu | Website
706-542-5844

My laboratory studies pathogens of macrophages and the mechanisms used by these organisms to subvert innate immunity.  The main focus of my lab is on the study of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and how this pathogen manipulates its host cell, the macrophage.  Our past work shows that an important virulence factor of M. tuberculosis, a cell wall glycolipid called trehalose dimycolate, binds to the macrophage scavenger receptor, MARCO, and may use this interaction to dampen macrophage responses and impair mycobactericidal activity.  We are also developing a mouse model to study the effects of intestinal helminth infection on various mycobacterial infections, such as with M. bovis and M. avium subspecies Paratuberculosis.  Our laboratory also studies a protozoal parasite of feline monocytes and erythrocytes called Cytauxzoon felis. This parasite causes a severe, fatal infection in cats in this region.  Our laboratory studies the immunopathogenesis of this disease, particularly the severe, systemic, inflammatory response that develops, in addition to developing culture conditions for the parasite.


Susan Sanchez

Professor
Athens Diagnostic Lab
ssanchez@uga.edu | Website
706-583-0518


David E Stallknecht

Professor
Population Health
dstall@uga.edu
706-542-7952

Understanding the impacts of diseases on wildlife populations and the potential for wildlife species to act as reservoirs or sentinels for livestock, poultry, and human diseases represent the central missions of our lab. Most of our current work is oriented towards the epidemiology of viral and vector-borne diseases specifically bluetongue and the epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses in white-tailed deer and avian influenza viruses in free-living duck and shorebird populations.


James Stanton

Associate Professor
Pathology
jbs@uga.edu
706-542-2853

My current research interests are in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs; prion diseases) using sheep cell culture as a natural model system to study prions. The overall objective is to investigate the cellular pathogenesis of prion diseases. Current areas of investigation include identifying determinants of permissiveness and identifying inhibitors of prions. Other collaborative work includes investigating the interaction of viruses and monocyte-derived cells, using organ culture to study virus-host interactions, and providing histopathology for a variety of other research projects.


Vincent Joseph Starai

Associate Professor
Microbiology
vjstarai@uga.edu | Website
706-542-5755

Our laboratory studies the ability of pathogenic microorganisms to manipulate host eukaryotic protein trafficking and SNARE-dependent membrane fusion pathways. We employ a simple eukaryotic biochemical model system (homotypic yeast vacuole fusion) for these membrane fusion studies and specialize in recombinant protein purification and biochemical assay development.


Demba Sarr

Professor
Bioinformatics; Plant Biology

dsarr1@uga.edu | Website

Bioinformatics of non-coding RNAs and gene family evolution; evolutionary genetics of Sarracenia(Pitcher plant) species.


Michael R Strand

Regents Professor
Entomology
mrstrand@uga.edu | Website
706-583-8237

My primary research interests are in the study of the interactions between insects, parasites, and beneficial symbionts. Projects include the characterization of 1) viruses and other microbes associated with insects, 2) insect immune defense responses, and 3) the interplay between the insect immune system and reproduction. Our laboratory is strongly interdisciplinary with projects that focus on genomics, the molecular and biochemical regulation of particular physiological processes, and the consequences of specific immune-microbial interactions on insect life history and evolution. Our work also involves a variety of different insects including mosquitoes, parasitoid wasps, and Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies).


Steffen O Sum

sum@uga.edu | website

Expertise in small animal infectious diseases, specifically, vector-borne diseases. Current infectious collaborative research project: FDA-funded Salmonella prevalence study.


Christine Symanski

cszymans@uga.edu


Susan N Tanner

Associate Professor
Anthropology
stanner1@uga.edu | Website
706-542-3085

As a biological anthropologist, I am interested in how people maintain health when they are frequently exposed to infectious disease. To date, my research has focused on lowland Bolivia where neglected diseases, such as soil-transmitted helminths, are a significant problem. My work and the work of my students examine the multiple pathways through which sociocultural and environmental change may affect health. We consider how educational and economic variation influence the distribution of infectious disease along with the value of local ethnomedical knowledge in treating disease. My research also examines the consequences of frequent exposure to infectious disease to child growth and nutrition. Overall, understudied diseases are an unfortunate daily reality of many populations and have important implications for the biological and social production of health.


Rick L Tarleton

Regents Professor
Cellular Biology
tarleton@uga.edu
706-542-3362

My lab studies T. cruzi infection and Chagas disease. Although immunology is the key discipline in our group, we take a very broad view and incorporate peripheral areas of investigation as needed. Immunologically, we are particularly interested in T cell responses to T. cruzi – especially CD8+ T cells that can recognize parasite-infected host cells. We have delved deeply into various ‘omics – genomics, proteomics and transcriptomics – in order to know what it is that T. cruzi is presenting to the immune system at critical points in its development. We are active in the assembly, annotation and continued an exploration of the T. cruzi genome. The mechanism of evolution of the large gene families that are the major targets of immune responses – and how these contribute to immune evasion continues to occupy us. We have a growing interest in metabolomics as we believe that hsot-parasite metabolism may play a key role in parasite persistence. More recently, we have become significantly involved in drug discovery, in the use of existing drugs, and in the development of biomarkers for assessing treatment outcomes. We are highly cognizant of the need to apply our knowledge of the T. cruzi:host interaction to the real world effect that this parasite has on more than 15 million infected individuals. This ambition has taken us into translational research, such as the development of diagnostics and vaccines. Current vaccine efforts focus on the development of live attenuated parasite strains that can be used as transmission-blocking agents – when delivered to dogs and other reservoir hosts. We maintain a long-term collaboration and laboratory in Buenos Aires, Argentina where we study immune responses and treatment follow-up in a large cohort of human patients with chronic T. cruzi infection.


Siddhartha Thakur

Population Health and Pathobiology
North Carolina State University
sthakur@ncsu.edu | Website
919-513-0729


Stephen M Tompkins

Professor
Center for Vaccine and Immunology
smt@uga.edu | Website
706-542-4716

My research interests focus on understanding transmission and pathogenicity of zoonotic influenza virus infection and development of novel approaches to vaccination and the prevention and treatment of viral infections. This utilizes a variety of animal models and disease hosts including mice, ferrets, cats, and swine. Studies include understanding transmission and pathogenic potential of avian influenza virus field isolates, surveillance of non-contemporary mammalian influenza viruses, mutagenesis of influenza viruses, novel recombinant vaccine and vaccine delivery development, therapeutic applications of RNA interference, and understanding the role of microRNAs in infectious disease and neoplasia. Related to this I have contributed to genome-wide screening for host genes involved in viral (influenza, measles, RSV, polio) replication using siRNA libraries. I have also work on a variety of approaches for the development of human antibodies for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. More recently, my research has included the pathogenesis of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, development of RSV vaccines, and outcomes of respiratory virus co-infections. Finally, recent studies explore the innate immune response to viral infection is different host species, including human, swine, mouse, feline, alligator, and bat.


Stephen Trent

Distinguished Professor
Infectious Diseases
strent@uga.eduWebsite

Characterizing the assembly of bacterial surface structures, Development of vaccines for viral and bacterial pathogens, Systems approaches to understanding microbial diseases


Ralph A Tripp

Professor
Infectious Diseases
ratripp@uga.edu
706-542-1557

The research interest of our group is to develop translational disease intervention strategies for important human viruses and emerging infectious diseases of zoonotic origin. Our BSL2, BSL3, and BSL3Ag+ laboratories develop platform enabling technologies in pathogen biosensing using nanotechnology-based approaches, antiviral drugs using small molecule, RNAi-based drugs, therapeutic antibodies, and animal and human vaccines. In parallel, we investigate the mechanisms of immunity and disease pathogenesis associated with infection to better understand the conceptual and functional differences between innate and adaptive immune responses that provide the foundation necessary to facilitate vaccine and antiviral therapeutic protocols. The laboratories leverage the talents of academic, government and industry partners to promote “bench-to-bedside” vaccines and therapeutics. The research interest of our group is to develop translational disease intervention strategies for important human viruses and emerging infectious diseases of zoonotic origin. Our BSL2, BSL3, and BSL3Ag+ laboratories develop platform enabling technologies in pathogen biosensing using nanotechnology-based approaches, antiviral drugs using small molecule, RNAi-based drugs, therapeutic antibodies, and animal and human vaccines. In parallel, we investigate the mechanisms of immunity and disease pathogenesis associated with infection to better understand the conceptual and functional differences between innate and adaptive immune responses that provide the foundation necessary to facilitate vaccine and antiviral therapeutic protocols. The laboratories leverage the talents of academic, government and industry partners to promote “bench-to-bedside” vaccines and therapeutics.


Tsz Ho Tse

Associate Professor
Electrical & Computer Engineer
ziontse@uga.edu | Website
706-542-4189

Dr. Zion T.H. Tse is an Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering. Formerly, he was a researcher at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women ’s. He received his Ph.D. in Mechatronics in Medicine from Imperial College London, UK. His academic and professional experience has related to medical devices, smartphone applications and social media in public health and clinical environment. Dr. Tse has designed and prototyped a broad range of novel healthcare devices and software platforms.


Guilherme Verocai

Assistant Research Scientist
Infectious Diseases
gverocai@uga.edu
706-542-0742

As a veterinarian and parasitologist, I am interested in various aspects of Parasitology, from biodiversity and biogeography of parasites of wild and domestic animals and to molecular genetics and therapeutics of parasites of veterinary and public health importance. Currently, my focus is on filarial parasites, including the genetics of anthelmintic resistance in the canine heartworm, Dirofilaria immitis, to the ecology of an emerging zoonotic Onchocerca species and their black fly vectors. Together with my colleagues at the NIAID/NIH Filariasis Research Reagent Resource Center (FR3), we plan to establish the life-cycle of the zoonotic Onchocerca lupi, to advance the knowledge on its biology and, more importantly, to serve as a model for research on Onchocerca volvulus, agent of river blindness or onchocerciasis in humans, from understanding host-parasite interactions to drug discovery and screening. As director of the Parasitology Diagnostic Laboratory of the UGA CVM”s, I am also interested in developing and validating diagnostic tools for parasites of veterinary and zoonotic relevance, from the economically important coccidiosis of poultry to zoonotic parasites shared between companion animals and people.


Christopher West

Professor
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
westcm@uga.eduWebsite

Oxygen- and glycosylation-dependent regulation of polyubiquitin ligases in Dictyostelium and Toxoplasma gondii; Glycobiology of protozoa.


Christopher Curtis Whalen

UGA Distinguished Research Professor
Global Health Institute
ccwhalen@uga.edu
706-542-0468

Research expertise includes tuberculosis, HIV infection, and other respiratory pathogens. Methods expertise includes observational epidemiology, randomized clinical trials, social network analysis, survival analysis, longitudinal data analysis.


Andrew Bruce Whitford

Professor
Public Administration & Policy
aw@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2898


Susan B Wilde

Associate Professor
Forestry & Natural Resources Research
swilde@uga.edu
706-542-2314

My expertise in broadly in aquatic ecology, but specifically in cyanobacterial toxins and their effects on, fish, wildlife, domestic animals, livestock, and even human health. I am involved in laboratory discovery of a novel neurotoxin, field and lab feeding trials, environmental monitoring, and assisting with implementing management. My focus is on finding solutions to controlling future disease by implementing improved watershed protection, vigilant monitoring, and informing adaptive management.


Adrian John Wolstenholme

Professor
Infectious Diseases
adrianw@uga.edu
706-542-2404

I work on parasitic nematodes and the drugs used to treat and prevent these infections. This inevitably leads to an interest in resistance to anthelmintic drugs, already a major problem in veterinary medicine and an emerging problem in human parasites. Most anthelmintics act as ion channels, and I am interested in the interactions between the avermectin/milbemycin (ivermectin, moxidectin) drugs and their target chloride channels, as well as the nicotinic agonists and their receptors. We use molecular biology techniques, together with in vitro expression studies in Xenopus oocytes, together with 2-electrode voltage clamp electrophysiology to study these interactions. In addition, we can express some of these receptors from parasitic nematodes in vivo, using the free-living organism, Caenorhabditis elegans. On resistance, our aim is to identify resistance-associated mutations and eventually develop molecular tests for these alleles. We have already achieved this for benzimidazole resistance in Haemonchus contortus, an important parasite of sheep and goats. We are exploiting new sequencing technologies to explore the effects of drug treatment on both parasite and host, hoping to gain new insights into this complex interaction.


Robert J Woods

Professor
Complex Carbohydrate Center
rwoods@ccrc.uga.edu | Website
706-542-4454

Research in the Woods group examines the relationship between carbohydrate structure and biological recognition. Areas of particular interest include carbohydrate recognition as a mechanism for pathogen adhesion and infection; characterizing carbohydrate antigenicity in immunological events; and the development of carbohydrate-specific reagents for the detection of carbohydrate-related disease markers. The research combines advanced computational 3D structure simulations with experimental methods, such as molecular biology, surface plasmon resonance, flow cytometry, and NMR spectroscopy.


May Xiong

Associate Professor
Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences
mayxiong@uga.edu | Website
706-542-5759

The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance represents a major public health threat. The most common modes of resistance fall under several general categories: restricted uptake, increased efflux, drug inactivation, and target alteration. The particularly impermeable outer membrane of Pseudomonas aeruginosa provides a broad spectrum of intrinsic resistance, yet little research has been done on strategies to combat this specific mechanism of resistance. We are currently addressing the antibiotic permeability barrier present in P. aeruginosa through the development of nanomaterials capable of enhancing its sensitivity to a variety of antibiotics, thereby increasing the number of viable treatment options, and are also investigating the mechanism of action of the nanomaterials.


Bingqian Xu

Adjunct Professor
College of Engineering
nanoxu@uga.edu
706-542-0502

Basic issues of electronic transport on the nanoscale are fairly well understood in systems such as semiconductor quantum wires and point contacts, metallic point contacts, and even in molecular systems like single-walled carbon nanotubes. However, the same is far from true for organic molecular wires tethered between contacts. Molecular wires, especially biomolecules with nanometer size in nature, will be key components in nanoelectronics, as they offer much more than just charge transport and connection with the outside world. We are interested in an integrated approach that can be used to study all the parameters and thus obtain the most information SPM Bioimaging and Molecular Nanolithography: Define molecular nanopatterns for imaging and single molecular electronics study recognition of biological systems that permit observation of rarely populated transients that are difficult or impossible to capture using bulk measurements. In this research we are to detect biological events at the single-molecule level, which will be key to scientific advances in understanding, identifying, and developing therapies that promote human health.


Michael John Yabsley

Professor
School of Forestry & Natural Resources
myabsley@uga.edu | Website
706-542-5702

I am primarily interested in infectious and parasitic diseases of wildlife, especially those that are vector-borne and/or zoonotic.


Ming Zhang

Associate Professor
Epidemiology & Biostatistics
mzhang01@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2194

My research area is molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases. My research subject focuses on HIV-1, although I have studied other viruses as well, such as influenza, HCV, smallpox, and norovirus. I have been developing new computational approaches to explore viral variations during disease progression and transmission and to track the changes of virus molecular evolution under different epidemiological settings. The goal of my research is to investigate the interplay between the human immune response and viral evolution and to help design improved vaccines and anti-viral therapies.


Tong Zhao

Associate Research Scientist
Center for Food Safety
tongzhao@uga.edu
770-228-7283

Detection, isolation, identification, and control of pathogens and toxins linked with foods.


Yiping Zhao

Distinguished Research Professor
UGARF
zhaoy@uga.edu | Website
706-542-2843

Nanostructures and thin films fabrication and characterization, chemical and biological sensors, biomaterials, and nanomotors for disease treatment, and renewable energy.