October 2012 Newsletter
Basic Science of Relevance to Human Disease
Vibha Sood, M.D. is a Fellow in our Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology. Dr. Sood’s research focus during fellowship is to explore the basic science of bacterial pathogenesis. Being a clinician, she was certain that the basic research she did would be of importance at some level in the understanding and conquest of human disease. Dr. Sood chose to work in the laboratory of Dr. Michelle Dziejman, a member of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Dziejman’s lab studies V. cholerae, the bacterium that causes the debilitating and life-threatening disease known as cholera. Previous studies showed that some pathogenic strains of V. cholerae do not carry the traditional virulence factors, including genes for cholera toxin, and instead cause disease by translocating unique proteins directly into host cells using a specialized secretion system. Dr. Sood is studying one of these translocated proteins, and her project is aimed at helping us understand how that bacterial protein interacts with host cell proteins to contribute to disease. Dr. Sood is an example of someone who is using her academic time during her Fellowship to immerse herself in basic research and to begin to ask the kinds of questions that hold the hope of understanding the various mechanisms used by bacteria to cause globally-important disease.