Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases

Basic Science Research

The basic science research that we conduct spans a wide range of laboratory and translational investigations in infectious disease. This research is an important component of the Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases.

Distinguished faculty

Over the last thirty years, faculty of the division have made important contributions in laboratory and translational research including the discovery of interleukin-1 (Charles Dinarello), the identification of Clostridium difficile as a pathogenic organism (Sherwood Gorbach, John Bartlett), development of cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin (David Snydman), development of the human Lyme disease vaccine (Mark Klempner).

Faculty in the division have won the highest awards for research contributions from the Infectious Disease Society of America including the Alexander Fleming Award (Gerald Keusch, Sherwood Gorbach) and the Oswald Avery Award (Sheldon Wolff, Gerald Keusch, Charles Dinarello, Mark Klempner, Matthew Waldor).

Basic science research in infectious diseases

Our basic science research is focused on investigation of the pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of viral, bacterial and protozoal infectious diseases. State-of-the-art techniques in molecular and cellular biology, genetics, biochemistry and immunology are employed to investigate many fundamental questions in infectious diseases including the mechanisms of microbial virulence, host-pathogen interactions, immune responses and drug and vaccine development.  These include studies on:

  • Allele-specific detection of HIV drug resistance
  • Interactions between antiretroviral drugs
  • Host-pathogen interaction of Legionella pneumophila
  • Development of vaccines for Vibrio cholerae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, B. burgdorferi and Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Type III secretion systems of Yersinia spp.
  • Host-pathogen interactions of Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Pathogenesis of diseases associated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection
  • Mechanism of action of AB5 subtilase cytotoxin
  • Modulation of immune responses by probiotics
  • Pathogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum
  • Mechanisms of Toll-like receptor mediated inflammation
  • Quantification of the intestinal microbiota in infectious diarrheal diseases
  • Molecular basis of host-parasite interactions of Cryptosporidium
  • Innate and adaptive immune responses to Cryptosporidium
  • Role of Cryptosporidium mucins in infection and immunity
  • Genetic basis of immune resistance to Babesia microti
  • Immunopathology of Schistosoma
  • Receptor interactions of Herpes viruses
  • Host pathogen interactions with Trypanosoma cruzi
  • Biology of EBV replication
  • Immunological responses to helminths

The Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases collaborates closely with the Dept. of Molecular and Microbiology at Tufts Medical School and the Dept of Pathology at Tufts Medical School with many faculty holding joint appointments.

Faculty include:

Stephen Bunnell, Ph.D.
Andrew Camilli, Ph.D. 
Athar Chishti, Ph.D.
John Coffin, Ph.D.
Ekaterina Heldwein, Ph.D.
Ralph Isberg, Ph.D.
Carol Kumamoto, Ph.D.
John Leong, M.D.
Stuart Levy, M.D. 
Joan Mecsas, Ph.D.
Alexander Poltorak, Ph.D
Abraham L. Sonenshein, Ph.D. 
Miguel Stadecker, M.D., Ph.D.
David Thorley-Lawson, Ph.D.
Cheleste M. Thorpe M.D. 
Edouard Vannier, Ph.D.
Christine Wanke, M.D.
Honorine Ward, M.D. 
Henry Wortis, M.D.