Gilchrist, Carol A.
Associate Professor, Medicine: Infectious Diseases and International Health
- PhD, University of Western Ontario
Identification of Parasite Virulence Factors
Identification of Parasite Virulence Factors: My primary research interest is to identify the causal mutations associated with increased pathogen virulence, whether they are genetic changes that cause a gain/loss of function or identifying genes that are the targets of diversifying selection due to either immune evasion or drug selection. My approach is to combine whole genome sequence analysis of Cryptosporidium with the clinical information captured during the field studies in order to identify drugable pathways that can be exploited in the design of new therapeutics.
Identification of Pathogen Reservoirs: During Cryptosporidium field studies we noticed that a high risk of urban cryptosporidiosis seemed to occur during the monsoon flooding whereas at rural sites exposure to poultry infected with C. meleagridis appeared be linked to cryptosporidiosis. I am using genetic data to identify pathogen reservoirs that increase the risk of a diarrheal disease in children.
Environmental and Host Factors that Impact Symptomatic Disease: My work with the E. histolytica parasite has shown that additional environmental factors such as the microbiota or host immune status can play a significant role in the development of symptomatic disease upon pathogen infection.