Infectious Diseases

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Bench Research

Laboratory of Dr. Mark Beilke - MCW and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center

Dr. Beilke is Professor and Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, where his laboratory is located.  Dr. Beilke has a longstanding research interest in the co-interactions of HIV-1, HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, which are the first three human retroviruses isolated and characterized in the 1980's.  Between 1991 and 2006 at Charity Hospital, New Orleans, Dr. Beilke conducted investigations on approximately 225 patients into an NIH-funded retrospective and prospective observational study.  The research indicated that HTLV infections conferred a survival benefit among patients with HIV-HTLV co-infections.

The clinical research studies were prematurely curtailed as a result of Hurricane Katrina.  However, the work resulted in sentinel clinical findings which lead to several peer reviewed publications.  When Dr. Beilke joined the Medical College of Wisconsin, in 2006, he established a hypothesis driven laboratory study built upon data obtained from the clinical cohort study.  The HTLV-2 viral transactivating protein, known as Tax2, is interesting because it appears to have potent effects on the human immune system.  Not only does Tax2 upregulate CC-chemokines, it also down-regulates the CCR-5 chemokine receptor which is utilized by R5 tropic strains of HIV-1.  The long term goal of Dr. Beilke's laboratory is to develop small peptides derived from the Tax2 amino acid sequence with potential therapeutic efficacy as immunomodulators and potential microbicides for protection of sexual transmission of HIV-1 and other sexually transmitted infections.

Recent Publications

"Flower cell" from an HTLV-1 infected individual

"Flower cell" from an HTLV-1 infected individual - Shuh, M and Beilke, M (2005), Microscopy Research and Technique 68: 176-196.



Laboratory of Dr. Jenifer Coburn - Translational Biomedical Research Center

The Coburn Lab is interested in how the pathogenic spirochetes Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira interrogans interact with mammalian cell surface receptors to facilitate establishment of disseminated infection.  We use approaches from Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and classical Microbiology to identify specific host cell receptors, the bacterial proteins that bind those receptors, and to understand the consequences of those interactions. Work in the Coburn Lab is funded by 4 grants from the NIH.  For more information and published lists, go to Coburn Lab.

Ixodes scapularis nymph, photograph taken by Dorothee Grimm, PhD

Ixodes scapularis nymph, photograph taken by Dorothee Grimm, PhD

Borrelia burgdorferi attached to a human platelet, photograph from Coburn et al, (1993) PNAS 90: 7059-7063

Borrelia burgdorferi attached to a human platelet, photograph from Coburn et al, (1993) PNAS 90: 7059-7063

Leptospira interrogans attached to human epithelial cell, photograph taken by Denise Martinez

Leptospira interrogans attached to human epithelial cell, photograph taken by Denise Martinez


Laboratory of Dr. Michael Kron - Biotechnology Bioengineering Center

Dr. Kron presently serves as the principal investigator on an NIH-NIAID funded collaborative study to identify actinomycete-derived natural compounds that might be useful in treating human filiarial diseases, which infect millions of persons in tropical regions of the world.  This research includes cooperation among an international network of laboratories, including MCW, Michigan State University Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, European Molecular Biology Laboratory-Grenoble in France, Goeteborg University and Umea University in Sweden, and the University of the Philippines.  The researchers are working to identify novel chemical scaffolds that inhibit recombinant parasite aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (AARS).  Dr. Kron had led a group focused on the natural products and biodiversity issues of terrestrial and marine organisms in the Philippines, which, with 7,100 islands, is considered one of five biodiversity hotpots worldwide.  Dr. Kron has a broad array of international health work in his career, including as a consultant to the NIH-MSU-Sudan Medical Parasitology Program in Khartoum, fellow in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, a member of the core faculty for the MSU Genetics Program Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and as a visiting scientist for the NIH-Philippines Tropical Medicine Research Center in Manila.  Dr. Kron has served as an advisor to the World Health Organization Special Program in Tropical Diseases, and has been a member of three National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study sections on infectious diseases.  He holds five MSU-U.S. patents related to assay development and anti-parasite drug discovery.  In 2013-2014 Dr. Kron was appointed as a Senior Science Advisor to the US Department of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and supported USG activities related to the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.  For more information please visit the Kron Lab page.  Recent Publications

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Page Updated 11/14/2014