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Microbiology & Infection at Boston College

biology department


Faculty research topics include:

Thomas Chiles, Ph.D.
Investigations into the metabolic pathways and signaling transduction underlying B cell growth responses to antigen challenge. Cell cycle control of peritoneal B-1a cells, including hyperproliferative responses.

Marc-Jan Gubbels, Ph.D.
Host cell invasion is at the heart of apicomplexan parasite pathogenesis. We use Toxoplasma gondii as a genetically tractable model to dissect this process. In addition we are analyzing the internal budding of daughter parasites during T. gondii cell division. Identification of key players in processes unique to the biology of Apicomplexa (invasion and division) is the first step towards development of more effective therapeutic options.

Charles Hoffman, Ph.D.
Investigations into fungal glucose/cAMP signaling using the genetically pliable fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.  This nutrient sensing pathway is homologous to those of fungal pathogens that regulate dimorphic growth and host tissue invasion in response to their nutrient environment.

Welkin Johnson, Ph.D.
Retroviruses; Primate lentiviruses (HIV and SIV); Co-evolution of viruses and their hosts

Junona Moroianu, Ph.D.
Study of the nuclear import pathways of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) proteins and genomes during the viral infection and the transformation process leading to cervical cancer.

Marc Muskavitch, Ph.D.
Investigations of the development and cell biology of the midgut of the malarial mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and of interactions between the midgut and the malarial parasite. Investigations of the role of the subcellular trafficking machinery in arboviral infection of the midgut in Aedes aegypti.

William Petri, Ph.D.
Investigations of the developmental regulation of gene expression in Drosophila eggshell genes.

Kenneth Williams, Ph.D.
Central nervous system macrophages, neuroAIDS, AIDS pathogenesis, monocyte/macrophage biology.


The following seven information pages on major insect-borne diseases are provided as an educational resource by the Biology Department at Boston College.

Kissing Bug
  Chagas disease is spread to humans by bites from blood-sucking reduviid insects known as kissing bugs.
  Lymphatic filariasis presently affects approximately 120 million people in the world.
  Malaria causes over one million deaths worldwide each year, making it one of the world's most devastating communicable diseases.
Dengue Hemorraghic Fever
  Dengue fever is spread to humans by bites from infected female mosquitoes of the genus Aedes.
  Leishmaniasis is a group of diseases caused by intracellular protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania.
African Sleeping Sickness
  African sleeping sickness newly infects about 20,000 to 25,000 people each year and causes about 55,000 deaths each year.
West Nile Virus
  West Nile virus is spread to people by the bites of infected mosquitoes. Symptoms of infection can include fever, severe headache, and muscular pain.