Research Interests & Projects
Our current investigations include studies of rheumatic (in collaboration with the departments of Rheumatology and Orthopedics) and gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases (in collaboration with the department of Gastroenterology) of idiopathic and infectious etiologies. These investigations utilize a multidisciplinary approach, which enables the lab to combine the medical and clinical diagnostic skills of physician collaborators with their own research and lab-based diagnostic capabilities.
Two infectious agents are under study as part of these investigations. They are Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and Helicobactor pylori, the leading cause of ulcers. H. pylori is also associated with other inflammatory gastric disorders. The lab is also studying the role of the immune system in initiation and perpetuation of inflammatory joint and soft-tissue disease associated with both rheumatic and gastrointestinal disorders. The latter studies are focused on detecting various antibodies and cytokines using immunoassays and a cell culture system; the former is focused on identifying relevant antigenic determinants of the infectious agents and elucidating immune markers that may serve as diagnostic and prognostic indices of disease.