Olfactory Barrier Mechanisms
The olfactory epithelium provides a mucosal barrier that protects the brain while allowing odorant recognition. Using Single-cell RNAseq approaches in conjunction with histologic and flow cytometric analyses we are elucidating cellular heterogeneity within the olfactory epithelium as well as unique contributions to barrier functionality
Neuroimmune Interactions in Olfactory Epithelium
Several immune cell populations reside within the olfactory epithelium at steady state and these populations further diversify following infectious challenge. We seek to define the unique functions of immune cells within the OE, as well as how the bidirectional signals are exchanged between the hematopoieitic and parenchyma cells of the olfactory compartment.
Host-Pathogen Interactions at the Olfactory Barrier
A number of pathogens are known to breach the olfactory epithelium and gain access to the central nervous system. We are interested in understanding how pathogens, viruses in particular, are able to infect cells within the olfactory epithelium and how this can have long term consequences for olfaction and CNS inflammation.
Host Immune Response to Naegleria fowleri
N. fowleri utilizes an olfactory route to invade the CNS and cause a devastatingly lethal form of meningoencephalitis. We seek to understand which innate and adaptive immune mechanisms are protective, why they ultimately fail, and how we can use this information to inform new translational solutions.