Host Factors in Defense against Bacterial and Fungal Pneumonia

Bettina, Alexandra, Microbiology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Mehrad, Borna, Department of Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of Virginia

Pneumonia is a serious and life-threatening infection caused by a variety of microorganisms including bacteria and fungi. Antibiotic resistance among Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria is increasing and necessitates the discovery of alternative therapeutics. Fungal pneumonia is a life-threatening infection in immunocompromised hosts, and even with treatment, mortality associated with infection is high. I undertook two studies to examine the role of host factors in defense against bacterial and fungal pneumonia. I first assessed the role of macrophage colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) on mononuclear phagocytes during bacterial pneumonia. Second, I examined the ability of the gut microbiota to influence host defense against invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. My findings suggest that host factors are critical in defense against bacterial and fungal pneumonia.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Pneumonia, infection, monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, cytokines, growth factors, hematopoiesis, gut microbiota, mucosal immunity
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