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Research Topics

Our laboratory is interested in the molecular mechanisms by which pathogens evade the host immune system to establish infection, and in the development of new therapeutics including drugs and vaccines.

 

Phosphoinositide Signaling and Antigenic Variation in Trypanosomes

We study the signaling and regulatory processes that control the monogenic transcription of variant antigen genes and their periodic switching in expression, which is essential for antigenic variation in trypanosomes. We focus on how phosphoinositides regulate the machinery involved in gene silencing, transcriptional switching, and recombination.

Transcriptional Control of Telomeric Expression Sites

We identified a protein complex termed telomeric expression site complex (TESC), which controls transcription of telomeric variant antigen genes in trypanosomes. We use genetics and proteomics to characterize the complex composition and topology and genomic approaches to study TESC's role in chromatin organization.

Regulation of Cell Nuclear Architecture

We are interested in the molecular and biophysical mechanisms that control the nuclear spatial organization and genome compartmentalization into transcriptionally active and silent regions. Moreover, we are interested in understanding the biogenesis and role of nuclear compartments in gene regulation.

Vaccines and drugs for neglected diseases

We use yeast surface display and genomics to identify vaccine epitopes and target-based drug candidates for neglected diseases that affect humans and animals. We are particularly interested in a therapeutic vaccine for chronic Chagas disease, a deadly infectious disease with no available treatment.