Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

Ellen Kiser

Ellen KiserMicrobiology Graduate Program

Mentor: Mary Wilson, MD


Year Entered Into Program: 2017



Leishmaniasis, a neglected tropical disease, is caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus and is endemic in impoverished areas. Some forms of the disease cause severe ulcers on the skin which can lead to debilitating scars; these scars can have socioeconomic implications. Other forms of the disease affect the internal organs causing hepatosplenomegaly. By using mouse models of malnutrition, we are examining the ways in which diet and both the skin and gut microbiota impact the severity and outcome of leishmaniasis. Diet interventions may be an efficient treatment to reduce disease and scaring severity and thus reduce the stigmas related to the disease.