Mann, Barbara J.
Associate Professor, Medicine: Infectious Diseases and International Health
- PhD, Microbiology, University of Virginia
Pathogenicity of Francisella tularensis and vaccines
My research interests focus on the initial interactions between the pathogenic bacteria Francisella tularensis and its host. I am specifically interested in adherence and invasion mechanisms, and protective vaccines. F. tularensis has been designated as a category A select agent for studies in Biodefense Research.
Francisella tularensis is a zoonotic infection that can be contracted by several methods including tick bites and inhalation. The low infection dose of 10-50 organisms by an inhalation route led to its development as an agent of biological warfare. The molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity of this gram negative, intracellular bacteria are largely unknown. We are using combined approaches that include bioinformatics, and mutagenesis to identify proteins that mediate adherence to and invasion of host cells. We are also screening for attenuated strains that may be useful as protective vaccines.