Shawn Skerrett , MD
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
We use animal models and cell culture systems to study innate immunity against bacterial pneumonia. One major area of focus is the role of Toll-like receptors and other signaling receptors in the pulmonary recognition of Legionella pneumophila, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Francisella tularensis. The experimental approach involves respiratory challenge studies in normal and genetically altered mice that lack specific receptors or adaptor molecules. The stimuli in these experiments include live bacteria, mutant bacteria lacking specific ligands, and microbial components. These studies are complemented by tissue culture experiments with macrophages in primary culture and reporter cell assays that seek to identify specific receptor-ligand interactions that activate innate immunity.