The Clark lab investigates bacterial-driven immune modulation in the respiratory tract. The upper respiratory tract is home to a diverse microbial community that includes both commensal and opportunistic bacterial pathogens. Research in the lab explores how exposure to these bacteria influences upper and lower respiratory tract inflammation and disease.
Our studies focus on innate immune responses to bacterial-derived products. Specifically, we are interested in bacterial activation of pathways leading to the secretion of IL-10, the prototypical anti-inflammatory cytokine, and how this response influences pre-existing inflammation as well as susceptibility to secondary infections. We model host-pathogen interactions using Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common cause of bacterial otitis media (ear infection) and pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae, and commensal bacterial species.
The long-term goal of this work is to identify new therapeutic approaches for the clinically significant problems of respiratory tract infection and inflammation.