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Johnson Cancer Research Center

Dr. Roman Ganta

Department: Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology
rganta@vet.k-state.edu
Departmental Website

“Our research is focused on characterizing the tick-transmitted rickettsial disease agents, Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia canis. We use the tools of molecular biology, immunology, animal models and cell culture systems. E. chaffeensis is the agent causing human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME). E. canis is primarily responsible for the canine monocytic ehrlichiosis. These closely related pathogens remain in both arthropod and vertebrate hosts for long periods of time. These pathogens developed a unique strategy to modify the normal function of the host cells. Altered host cell function may trigger an uncontrolled growth, as in the case of cancerous cells, or may lead to retarded cell functions. Rickettsial pathogens significantly alter the macrophage function and possibly T-cell function. The altered macrophages support the pathogens in their continued replication that is contrary to the macrophage function to clear them. Understanding the basic biology behind the modification of normal cellular functions will be important in knowing how cell function is impacted by various environmental factors. Such knowledge also is valuable to gain insights into the biology of cancer.”