Resting mast cell
Dengue-activated mast cell
The St. John lab research program focuses on understanding host immune responses to virulent pathogens.
INNATE AND ADAPTIVE IMMUNITY TO DENGUE
Dengue is a mosquito-borne virus infection. We use immune competent mouse models to identify the ways the host immune system responds to dengue infection.
Highly host-adapted pathogens require specialized vaccine strategies for effective immune protection. We apply the knowledge gained in our basic research studies to develop novel vaccine strategies.
MAST CELL RESPONSES TO VIRAL INFECTIONS
Mast cells are best known for their involvement in conditions such as asthma, allergy and anaphylaxis, however, they also can provide immune surveillance for viral pathogens such as dengue virus. We are learning that MC responses to different viruses are highly unique.
VERTICAL TRANSMISSION OF ZIKA VIRUS
Zika virus is able to cross the placenta from mother to developing fetus. Members of our lab are investigating the mechanisms of vertical transmission of infection with emphasis on understanding how components of the immune system influence fetal infection.
FLAVIVIRUS-INDUCED VASCULAR PATHOLGY
Many flaviviral pathogens induce immune pathology involving vascular and/or blood brain barrier leakage. We are particularly interested in the role of mast cell derived proteases in inducing vascular permeability.