Faculty and Lab Members
- Flow cytometry. He has established several 12 – 15 color panels for phenotyping as well as intracellular staining
- Mass cytometry (CyTOF). He has established a 34 marker phenotype panel for PBMCs (AAI 2018 presentation abstract) and human genital tract tissues as well as 37 marker ICS panel for PBMCs.
- High-dimensional data analysis (viSNE, CITRUS)
- Confocal microscopy
Dr. O’Connell’s principal research goals are directed towards understanding the virulence mechanisms used by chlamydial species to cause disease. She has a strong interest in the complex host-pathogen interactions involved in chlamydial infection, particularly those influenced by the presence of the conserved resident plasmid. In addition, she is also interested in chlamydial-cell interactions that influence the flow of important metabolic intermediates to inclusion-bound microorganisms or that result in host-directed modification of chlamydial proteins that ultimately may alter immune-recognition and antigen presentation.
Dr. O’Connell has developed a recent interest in investigating the impact of chlamydial infection on human inflammatory responses using transcriptional profiling and in studying the genomics of chlamydial strains associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, the most damaging manifestation of genital tract infection caused by C. trachomatis. The goal of this research is to identify biomarkers, both host and bacterial, that can predict risk for severe reproductive tract morbidities such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
- Translational research to identify disease biomarkers through combined analysis of multi-omics data, including mRNA, miRNA, and DNA.
- Identification of the disease susceptibility genes and their regulatory network in infectious diseases for pathogenesis and improved prevention and treatment.
- Development of statistical algorithms for mediation analysis, causal network analysis and statistical deconvolution.
- Chlamydial entry via clathrin-coated pits
- Greater entry and infectivity in estrogen- vs progesterone-dominant epithelia
- Exit of serovar E EB progeny to the apical epithelial surface for ascension canalicularly to the upper genital tract vs basal release of invasive serovar LGV to the submucosa for infiltration of lymph nodes
- Importance of analyzing chlamydial antibiotic efficacy in the polarized epithelial orientation
- Polymorphonuclear leukocytes loaded with azithromycin could migrate from the basal polarized monolayer to deliver the antibiotic in bioreactive form to chlamydiae in apical inclusions.
Dr. Wyrick’s current activities include assistance with chlamydial infection of polarized fallopian tube epithelia and electron microscopy analyses of chlamydial infection in secretory and/or ciliated epithelial cells.