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Our research in this area is mainly focused on the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium which is a significant cause of diarrheal disease worldwide, particularly in immunocompromised hosts such as patients with HIV/AIDS and malnourished children in resource-limited countries.
In particular we are engaged in laboratory studies of the molecular basis of early Cryptosporidium-host cell interactions, seeking to investigate proteins which mediate these interactions and enzymes that post-translationally modify them. Our long term goal is to determine if these proteins and the enzymes that modify them may serve as targets for drug or vaccine development.
We are also working on clinical and field-based studies of immune responses to putative vaccine candidates for Cryptosporidium in vulnerable populations such as patients with HIV/AIDS and malnourished children in resource-limited countries where cryptosporidiosis is endemic. Our long term goal is to determine the correlates of protective immunity and to identify putative vaccine candidates and/or immunomodulatory agents for cryptosporidiosis.
Honorine Ward, MD