John M. Mansfield
Professor of Bacteriology
Research in our lab focuses on the complex immunobiological relationship between host and parasite in African trypanosomiasis, a fatal protozoan disease of man and animals. Our studies examine the immunogenetics of resistance to disease by utilizing genetically altered host animals and genetically modified trypanosomes in order to dissect out those biological elements that are functionally and genetically linked to resistance. We also examine programmed changes in parasite gene and protein expression that appear to be linked to changes in virulence. Genes and proteins differentially expressed between genetically related high and low virulence trypanosomes have been isolated and characterized, and candidate virulence genes are being modified in order to address the subcellular basis for virulence in African trypanosomiasis. In summary, research in the Mansfield lab elucidates centrally important host and parasite biological events that determine the course of infection, and our future studies are aimed at modifying these events in order to control or cure trypanosomiasis.