Our laboratory conducts translational research in human immunology geared towards understanding the immune mechanisms associated with protection from or susceptibility to microbial diseases in humans. In most infections, the clinical presentation of the illness results directly from the host immune response to the microbe rather than the pathogen itself. Mechanisms that govern such responses (e.g. specific host-pathogen interactions) are therefore critically important in disease pathogenesis. Whereas protective responses lead to resolution of infection and immune homeostasis, dysregulation of these responses can lead to perpetuation of the infection and/or immune-mediated tissue pathology even in the absence of the microorganism; e.g. infection-induced autoimmunity.
Lyme disease, a complex multi-organ disease caused by infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, provides a unique model to study these concepts. In humans, the illness presents with a great degree of clinical heterogeneity ranging from acute to chronic infection, as well as post-infectious immune phenomena. At each stage dysregulated innate and adaptive (T and B cell) immune responses are linked to more severe disease.
In our current work we are elucidating microbial and host genetic determinants that lead to protective or pathogenic immune responses. Moreover, we are studying how such responses shape the clinical course and outcome of the disease in patients. This work involves the latest systems-wide genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic approaches as well as functional studies using cells and affected tissues. The studies are part of a multi-center collaboration with investigators across United States and Europe.
The goals of this work are to improve the understanding of disease pathogenesis, to develop novel diagnostic assays for early identification of patients at greater risk for severe disease, and to help guide more rational and effective treatment strategies for patients. We believe that the concepts gained in Lyme disease are applicable to studies of other microbial diseases in which host immunity is an important driver of pathogenesis.
The goals of this work are to improve the understanding of disease pathogenesis, to develop novel diagnostic assays for early identification of patients at greater risk for severe disease, and to help guide more rational and effective treatment strategies. patients. This work involves a multi-center collaboration with investigators across United States and Europe.
Join our Lab!
We are actively recruiting a motivated post-doctoral fellow to join our group. If interested, please contact Klemen Strle.
A culmination of work in Lyme arthritis in patients and in animal models, the review highlights the paradigm that infectious agents may trigger immune dysregulation and autoimmunity, leading to persistent post-infectious sequelae.read more