Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology School of Medicine
Dr. Criss’s laboratory investigates how pathogenic microorganisms manipulate the immune system in order to cause disease. The lab’s particular focus is Neisseria gonorrhoeae, an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that infects hundreds of millions of people worldwide each year. Dr. Criss’ research into how N. gonorrhoeae resists killing by human neutrophils at mucosal surfaces uses cell biological, molecular genetic, biochemical, and immunological imaging approaches. The ultimate goal of this research is to identify targets in the host or pathogen for developing vaccines and new antimicrobial agents, while limiting the tissue damage that underlies sterility and other negative outcomes that are associated with the inflammatory response to infection.