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T. R. Kannan, Ph.D.
STRF - Room 289.5 Tel: (210) 562-4182Fax: (210) 562-4171Email:
Our laboratory studies the pathogenesis of two small bacterial pathogens, Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Mycoplasma genitalium. Despite their very small genomes these mycoplasmas are successful pathogens of human. M. pneumoniae is a frequent cause of community-acquired respiratory infections in children and adults. M. genitalium is an emerging important causative agent of sexually transmitted infections. Because of the lack of effective therapeutics and vaccines, mycoplasma diseases continue to be a significant problem for public health. Recent outbreaks and epidemiological studies with the high incidence of mycoplasma diseases indicate the urgent need to develop new approaches for prevention and therapy. Development of such reagents, however, requires a solid understanding of the molecular biology of mycoplasma infections. We use a multidisciplinary approach involving bacterial genetics, biochemistry, cell biology as well as immunology to define the molecular interactions that occur between pathogenic mycoplasmas and their hosts.
Despite their very small genomes Mycoplasmas have developed unique ways to interact with their hosts. During their co-evolutionary balance mycoplasmas have evolved an array of virulence factors well suited to counteract a variety of host-cell responses in order to invade, survive and replicate within their hosts. We are interested in identifying and characterizing the bacterial determinants involved in these interactions as well as the molecular, cellular and immunobiology of this process.
Specific areas of interest include: