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Nicholas Ettinger

Mentor: Mary Wilson, M.D.
Lab Phone: 335-6808

Modulation of Human Macrophage and T-cell Immune Responses upon Infection with Leishmania chagasi

Our lab studies the interactions between the protozoan parasite Leishmania chagasi, the causative agent of the fatal human disease New World Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL), and the human immune system. Our lab collaborates with Dr. Selma Jeronimo in Natal, Brazil where L. chagasi is endemic. There, the joint labs have previously documented that susceptibility to infection has a strong host genetic component. One arm of my thesis project involves follow up investigations of 1254 VL+ patients, Montenegro Skin Test+ (leishmaniasis skin test = DTH+) patients and their respective families enrolled in a genome-wide linkage scan to identify genetic loci and elements that contribute to susceptibility or resistance to infection by L. chagasi. The second arm of my project involves investigating early gene expression changes in infected human monocyte-derived macrophages and human T cells using microarrays and reverse transcriptase PCR, as well as follow up studies on genes that are up or downregulated.

Ettinger NA, Duggal P, Braz RF, Nascimento ET, Beaty TH, Jeronimo SM, Pearson RD, Blackwell JM, Moreno L, Wilson ME. Genetic admixture in Brazilians exposed to infection with Leishmania chagasi. Ann Hum Genet. 2009 May;73(Pt 3):304-13. Epub 2009 Mar 27. PubMed PMID: 19397557; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2731584.

Ettinger NA, Wilson ME. Macrophage and T-cell gene expression in a model of early infection with the protozoan Leishmania chagasi. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2008 Jun 25;2(6):e252. PubMed PMID: 18575603; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2427198.

Jeronimo SM, Duggal P, Ettinger NA, Nascimento ET, Monteiro GR, Cabral AP, Pontes NN, Lacerda HG, Queiroz PV, Gomes CE, Pearson RD, Blackwell JM, Beaty TH, Wilson ME. Genetic predisposition to self-curing infection with the protozoan Leishmania chagasi: a genomewide scan. J Infect Dis. 2007 Oct 15;196(8):1261-9. Epub 2007 Sep 13. PubMed PMID: 17955446; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2330094.

Jeronimo SM, Holst AK, Jamieson SE, Francis R, Martins DR, Bezerra FL, Ettinger NA, Nascimento ET, Monteiro GR, Lacerda HG, Miller EN, Cordell HJ, Duggal P, Beaty TH, Blackwell JM, Wilson ME. Genes at human chromosome 5q31.1 regulate delayed-type hypersensitivity responses associated with Leishmania chagasi infection. Genes Immun. 2007 Oct;8(7):539-51. Epub 2007 Aug 23. PubMed PMID: 17713557; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2435172.

Honors and Awards

  • Parasitology Training Grant Predoctoral Appointment 2005, COM Research Week Poster Award "Analysis o