Research Interests:

Evolution of immune defenses, especially across the gut.
Host-microbe dialogue via innate receptors
Relationship between symbiosis and immunity
The role(s) of adherent bacterial communities in the gut
Molecular phylogeny of immune response genes

I am interested in studies of molecular evolution but my main focus is on the evolution of immune defense mechanisms -- specifically across the gut epithelium. Our lab is trying to decipher how a host, in general, maintains complex communities of microbes in their guts and we are doing this with the model organism, Ciona intestinalis. What are the mechanisms involved in bacterial colonization of host epithelial surfaces?

Our research is supported by:
National Science Foundation
National Institutes of Health
All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine Foundation
University of South Florida College of Medicine Deans Office

Our main focus:

The gut


Evolution of immunity: