Dr. Stephanie Shames
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy render cancer patients immunocompromised, which increases susceptibility to infectious diseases. Legionella bacteria cause Legionnaires’ Disease, which is an inflammatory pneumonia. Induced inflammation is sufficient to clear the pathogen in healthy humans but immunocompromised individuals are susceptible to Legionnaires’ Disease. Using animal disease models, we aim to elucidate the function of Legionella proteins that enhance immunity to modulate immune signaling and function as adjuvants and biological response modulators. Together with current treatments, these factors will improve cancer and infectious disease treatment. Ultimately our work will improve cancer patient outcome(s) through modulation of the innate immune system.