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The main research interest of the lab is on host-pathogen interactions and disease mechanisms. We study the pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus in highly-sensitive rabbit models of pneumonia, infective endocarditis, sepsis, and toxic shock.
Infections are the leading cause of financial burden in health-care settings. S. aureus diseases affect ~650,000 individuals each year in the U.S. Community and health care-associated S. aureus infections (as pneumonia, sepsis, and endocarditis) pose an enormous challenge for treatment. Little progress has been made in the understanding of life-threatening S. aureus infections. One major virulence factor is superantigens, once thought to have a single mode of action. Now it is clear that these molecules are critical components of the pathology, severity, and lethality associated with S. aureus diseases. The Salgado-Pabón lab is one of a handful of laboratories in the U.S. that study staphylococcal superantigens from the perspective of their contribution to human diseases. We study disease caused by strains of all four major clonal groups, with emphasis on the cellular and molecular mechanism of superantigen involvement in: 1) infective endocarditis and disease sequelae, including metastatic abscesses and strokes, 2) adaptive immune suppression, and 3) enhancement of endotoxin shock.
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