Dana G. Mordue, Ph.D., is associate professor of microbiology and immunology and interim dean of the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences at New York Medical College.
Dr. Mordue's laboratory is interested in understanding how IFN-induced cell autonomous immune mechanisms mediate control of intracellular pathogens and mechanisms intracellular pathogens have evolved to evade these cellular defenses. Our primary pathogen model is Toxoplasma gondii, a single cell protozoa pathogen that has successfully evolved to cause disease in virtually any warm-blooded vertebrate including humans. Approximately 20% of Americans are chronically infected with T. gondii; however severe symptoms are common only in immune-suppressed individuals. A current area of research is aimed at understanding how reactive oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen species (RNS) mediate control of T. gondii and identifying/exploiting parasite vulnerabilities to increase its sensitivity to host cellular defenses. Reactive nitrogen species (RNS) hold promise as antimicrobial therapeutics due to their multiplicity of targets within a pathogen, their ability to access microbial targets, and their effectiveness against even dormant organisms.
Babesia microti, a pathogen related to T. gondii, is a microscopic parasite that infects red blood cells causing babesiosis, a disease similar to malaria. An important epicenter of this emerging disease is Westchester County. The parasite is also transmitted by blood transfusion making it a significant risk to the US blood supply with no effective method approved by the FDA to screen for it. Ongoing studies in our laboratory are aimed at developing an immunological assay to screen blood samples for Babesia microti; in addition to answering basic questions related to the cell biology and pathogenesis of this emerging pathogen.
Graduate Degree: Ph.D.
Graduate Degree Institution: University of Iowa
Undergraduate Institution: Mankato State University, Mankato MN