Human Health and Agricultural Research

 

Human Health and Agricultural Research at the NMC is supported by internationally recognized expertise in genome research, microbiology, immunology, structural biology, bioinformatics, and modeling, and brings together scientists from across the world to collaborate on global challenges.
 
NMC's Biological Laboratory provides state of the art facilities to researchers from the NMC, Los Alamos National Laboratory, universities, and industry. The Laboratory includes a 12,000 square foot general use wet laboratory facilities, specialized laboratories, and a 4,000 square foot research greenhouse. This combination of capabilities and facilities enables scientists at the NMC to carry out forefront basic research on the role of immune systems in countering major pathogen threats.
                                                

Basic Research

The projects in basic science include:

  • Quantitative understanding of subversion of immune pathways due to pathogenic infection.
  • Analysis of genome-wide expression of the genes/proteins belonging to the immune pathways to identify specific genes and proteins that are suppressed or activated during pathogenesis.
  • Determination of how pathogen virulence factors interact with specific host proteins to hijack the immune defense pathways (such as autophagy) to establish pathogenic niche.
  • Identification of specific host microRNAs that are normally induced for beneficial regulation of immune defense but are aberrantly induced upon pathogenic infection to the detriment of the host.
  • Development of algorithms and software for determining macromolecular structures by X-ray diffraction and cryo-EM.

Translational Research

Basic science leads to the development of the following projects in translational science:

  • Design and delivery of therapeutic proteins that enhance the ability of the plant host to recognize and kill the wildtype and resistant pathogens that cause deadly diseases and tremendous economic loss (examples: Xylella fastidiosa that causes Pierce’s Disease in grape; Candidatus Liberibacter that causes citrus greening).
  • Design and delivery of therapeutic proteins that clear bacteria and their toxins and prevent them from harming human immune system.
  • Design of small molecule therapeutics that block pathogen virulence factors and prevent them hijacking our immune defense (such as autophagy).
  • Suppression and/or activation of specific host microRNAs to rescue human and plant immune defense.
For more information see:

Current Efforts in Alzheimer's Disease Research

 
The human health research extends beyond pathogens to other diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, understanding and treatment of which is a major state and national healthcare focus. 
 
The human immune system is compromised in Alzheimer’s disease and in other neurological disorders.  Hence, similar combination of basic and translational science is currently underway to understand and counter Alzheimer’s disease and other related neurological disorders.
 
 

Research Team

 
Click here to see the people involved. 

 

These projects are funded by multiple federal agencies and private sponsors.

 

 

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