Systems analysis and characterization of mucosal immunity

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Virginia Tech


During acute and chronic infectious diseases hosts develop complex immune responses to cope with bacterial persistence. Depending on a variety of host and microbe factors, outcomes range from peaceful co-existence to detrimental disease. Mechanisms underlying immunity to bacterial stimuli span several spatiotemporal magnitudes and the summation of these hierarchical interactions plays a decisive role in pathogenic versus tolerogenic fate for the host. This dissertation integrates diverse data from immunoinformatics analyses, experimental validation and mathematical modeling to investigate a series of hypotheses driven by computational modeling to study mucosal immunity. Two contrasting microbes, enteroaggregative Escherichia coli and Helicobacter pylori, are used to perturb gut immunity in order to discover host-centric targets for modulating the host immune system. These findings have the potential to be broadly applicable to other infectious and immune-mediated diseases and could assist in the development of antibiotic-free and host-targeted treatments that modulate tolerance to prevent disease.



Gut inflammation, Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli, Helicobacter pylori, computational modeling, immunology, immunoinformatics