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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Microbiology

PI: Peter Southern, Associate Fellow

Human Organ Cultures and Microbial Infections at Mucosal Surfaces

These researchers are using human organ cultures and populations of human cells to examine transmission and primary microbial infections at mucosal surfaces. This work originated with the development of experimental systems to understand HIV transmission, but they have also examined other infectious agents such as different viruses, bacteria, and fungi. As an additional feature, they have recognized that the external infectious agents applied in the laboratory can interact with microbes that are already present on the tissue surface or within the tissue at the time of surgical removal. They have devised a multi-microscope approach to reconstruct infectious processes and are using resources at the BSCL for this work. In particular, they have used software available at the laboratory to develop three-dimensional surface reconstructions from confocal microscopy z-series datasets. A major focus in current work is to understand the mechanisms whereby one virus (herpes simplex virus) can facilitate infection by a second virus (HIV) and to understand how damage at mucosal surfaces can impact on overall susceptibilty to infection.

Group Member

Julie Horbul, Graduate Student