Division Of Infectious Diseases
The Center for the Study of Emerging and Reemerging Pathogens is a collection of interdepartmental laboratories located in the Medical Science Building at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
These laboratories share a new facility containing many pieces of top of the line/state-of-the-art equipment, used in scientific research. The facility comprises modern rooms dedicated to different purposes such as cell culture equipped with carbon dioxide incubators and a Biological Safety Cabinet, dishwashing and autoclaving (two dishwashers, two drying ovens and two autoclaves for sterilization), darkroom, PCR room, common equipment room containing gel dryers, ultracentrifuges, a lyopholizer, a tabletop centrifuge, & a scintillation counter.
The BSL-3 facility is located in the Medical Sciences Building occupying 725 square feet and has four rooms (3 modules, accessed through the 'common room') used for biohazardous work, plus an anteroom. The common room is a support area, containing freezers, an ELISA reader, a flow cytometer, a fluorescent microscope and a computer along with other standard laboratory equipment including a pass-through autoclave and sink. This facility is open for use by all investigators studying respiratory pathogens and is the location for the Center for BioDefense's research aims.
The focus of the research is on different aspects of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis biology, epidemiology and diagnostics. The main areas are: Rapid diagnostics for biodefense, Intracellular consequences of antibiotic treatment, Studies of antibiotic resistance alleles in M. tuberculosis , Evolutionary studies of M. tuberculosis and Integrated sample processing for detection of M. tuberculosis & diagnosis of drug resistance.
Most of the likely agents of bio-terrorism have profound effects on the host and, in particular, on the immune and inflammatory responses. We propose a broad-based approach to identify the unique �signatures� of infectious agents using host DNA micro-arrays. Because of the known diverse patterns of host cell interactions with these organisms, examination of the host transcriptional response has enormous potential to allow rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases in general and agents of bio-terrorism in particular. The agents under investigation are Bacillus anthracis, Burkholderia mallei, Francisella tularensis , multi-drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Yersinia pestis, Dengue virus, Monkeypox virus, SARS Coronavirus, Influenza virus and Hantaan virus. In vitro infection models for these respiratory pathogens will be developed using whole blood samples from unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals. Recognition of specific genes that are expressed or repressed during these early infection models will provide signature markers that can be used in related and alternative approaches for rapid diagnosis. The long-term goal of the project is to develop DNA chips and assays for associated disease markers that focus on genes and their products that provide the best discrimination among bio-terrorism agents.
This project has expanded into additional funding years and now includes the testing of �blind� samples to test validity and reproducibility of the unique signatures, as well as to develop chips based on these signatures.
In addition to the micro-array studies, collaborations are underway with many laboratories investigating these agents. Projects include; analysis of the blood after infection, to determine effects of the pathogen on the blood cells, analysis and production of enzymes involved in bio-film formation, as well as additional host transcriptional response studies employing infection of human alveolar macrophages and other cell lines.
One of the research programs of my laboratory is focused on elucidating the mechanistic principles that govern Th1 initiation in tuberculosis. We are studying the interplay between dendritic cells, macrophages, and T cells through the use of transgenic model systems to define the role of these cells in initiation of Th1 immunity. My laboratory is also examining the role of two antigen-presenting cell types in orchestrating the formation of granuloma during tuberculous infection.
Dr. Virendra Pandey PhD.
The main objectives of our laboratory are (1) To understand and define the biochemical and structural aspects of the HIV-1 replicating enzyme reverse transcriptase, which continues to be a prime target for intervention in HIV-1 replication, (2) To develop novel anti-HIV inhibitors that target critical regulatory regions of the viral genome invulnerable to genetic variability of the virus, (3) To understand the molecular biology of host cell-Hepatitis C Virus interactions using state-of-the-art proteomics technology to identity cellular/viral factors interacting with HCV genome and their possible implications with regard to HCV replication, gene expression and pathogenesis.