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Microbial pathogenesis

Infection represents an evolutionary arms race between pathogen and host. Thus, throughout human history microbial pathogens have evolved strategies to manipulate and avoid our immune system – a requisite for their ability to establish and maintain infection. As a result, successful pathogens are fantastic immunologists equipped with ability to regulate key aspects of both humoral and cellular immunity.

Our laboratory is focused on microbial pathogenesis. We study host-pathogen interactions whereby bacteria manipulate the host immune system to promote disease, studies that may provide knowledge into disease pathogenesis as well as fundamental aspects of immune regulation and function. We are particularly interested in understanding how Mycobacteria and Streptococci – representing evolutionarily distant pathogens causing chronic and acute infections, respectively – interact with myeloid cells to manipulate their function, and in investigating the biological role of these host-pathogen interactions during infection.

Main projects

Mycobacteria

  • The biological role of the ESX-1 type VII secretion system during infection.
  • Regulation and functional role of classical/alternative macrophage activation (i.e. M1/M2).
  • Identification of critical antigen-presenting cell subsets and bacterial manipulation of their function. Here we collaborate with other groups at the Department of Experimental Medical Science to gain insight into how adaptive immunity is initiated, and regulated, during infection.

Group A Streptococci

The biological role of the surface M protein during infection.

Regulation and functional role of classical/alternative macrophage activation

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