Office: 315 Harned
Phone: (662) 325-7570
B.S. Biology, La Sierra University
Ph.D. Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University
Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health
Statement of Research Interests
The economic impact of tick-transmitted diseases throughout the world is staggering affecting humans, domestic animals, livestock, and wildlife. Ticks have a high reproductive potential, few natural predators, can live for several years, and feed on multiple vertebrate hosts. Our lab studies relapsing fever spirochetes, a tick-borne pathogen causing recurrent febrile episodes, uncontrollable chills, nausea, vomiting, and with some species there is a 10% untreated mortality rate. The disease is distributed globally and significantly afflicts those in resource poor countries. Moreover, the tick vectors have long life spans and can be starved for years yet still transmit the spirochetes once they feed again. Therefore, relapsing fever spirochetes represent a remarkable system to study pathogen adaptation within the tick and mammal.
Our lab takes an interdisciplinary approach towards studying relapsing fever spirochetes with three areas of focus: 1. Determining the molecular mechanisms required for spirochete adaptation within the tick vector and mammalian host. 2. Defining the ecology and distribution of relapsing fever spirochetes in the Southern United States, Mexico, Central and South America. 3. Understanding the host immune response developed against relapsing fever spirochetes. Together, research focused in these three areas of spirochete pathogenesis will help us develop therapeutics preventing spirochete transmission.
Lopez J. E., McCoy B. N., Krajacich B. J., and Schwan T. G.: Acquisition and subsequent transmission of Borrelia hermsii by the soft tick Ornithodoros hermsi. J Med Entomol. 2011, July;48(4): 891-895. PMID: 21845950.
McCoy B.N., Raffel S.J., Lopez J.E., and Schwan T.G.: Blood meal size and spirochete acquisition of Ornithodoros hermsi (Acari: Argasidae) during feeding. J Med Entomol. 2010 Nov;47(6):1164-1172. PMID: 21175068
Safronetz D., Lopez J.E., Sogoba N., Traore S.F., Raffel S.J., Fischer E.R., Ebihara H., Branco L., Garry R.F., Schwan T.G., Feldman H.: Detection of Lassa virus in Mali, Africa. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Jul;16(7):1123-1126. PMID: 20587185
Lopez J. E., Schrumpf M. E., Nagarajan V., Raffel S. J., McCoy B. N., and Schwan T. G.. A novel surface antigen of relapsing fever spirochetes can discriminate between relapsing fever and Lyme borreliosis. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2010 Apr;17(4):564-571. PMID: 20147497
Sutten E. L., Norimine N., Beare P. A., Heinzen R. A., Lopez J.E., Morse K., Brayton K. A., Gillespie J. J., Brown W. C.: Anaplasma marginale type IV secretion system proteins VirB2, VirB7, VirB11, and VirD4 are immunogenic components of a protective bacterial membrane vaccine. Infect Immun. 2010 Mar;78(3):1314-1325. PMID: 20065028
Lopez J.E., Porcella S.F., Schrumpf M.E., Raffel S.J., Hammer, C.H., Zhao, M., Robinson M.A., Schwan T.G.: Identification of conserved antigens for early serodiagnosis of relapsing fever Borrelia. Microbiology. 2009 Aug;155(Pt 8):2641-2651. PMID: 19443544
Lopez J.E., Schrumpf M.E., Raffel S.J., Policastro P.F., Porcella S.F., Schwan T.G.: Relapsing fever spirochetes retain infectivity after prolonged in vitro cultivation. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2008 Dec;8(6):813-820. PMID: 18637723
Lopez J.E., Beare P.A., Heinzen R.A., Norimine J., Lahmers K.K., Palmer G.H., Brown W.C.: High-throughput identification of T-lymphocyte antigens from Anaplasma marginale expressed using in vitro transcription and translation. J Immunol Methods. 2008 Mar 20;332(1-2):129-141. PMID: 18243240
Lopez J.E., Palmer G.H., Brayton K.A., Dark M.J., Leach S.E., Brown W.C.: Immunogenicity of Anaplasma marginale type IV secretion system proteins in a protective outer membrane vaccine. Infect Immun. 2007 May;75(5):2333-2342. PMID: 17339347
Lopez J.E., Siems W.F., Palmer G.H. Brayton K.A., McGuire T.C., and Brown W.C.: identification of novel antigenic proteins in a complex Anaplasma marginale outer membrane immunogen by mass spectrometry and genomic mapping. Infect Immun. 2005 Dec;73(12):8109-8118. PMID: 16299305