Marcel A. Behr, MD, MSc
Photo: Marcel A. Behr



Elected 2010
Our laboratory is interested in the epidemiology and pathogenesis of mycobacterial infections. Using genetic and genomic methods, we explore host and bacterial determinants of infection and disease due to M. tuberculosis (the cause of TB) and M. avium paratuberculosis (the cause of paratuberculosis and a hypothesized microbial contributor to Crohn’s disease). Previous and ongoing work on TB include determining the basis for virulence attenuation of M. bovis BCG strains and understanding how closely related members of the M. tuberculosis are tropic for different hosts. Work on M. avium involves understanding the bacterial basis for increased virulence among pathogenic clones of this species and detailing the role of the host receptor NOD2/CARD15 in initiating innate and adaptive immune responses during mycobacterial infection. The ultimate goal of these avenues of investigation is an improved vaccine against mycobacterial diseases, especially TB, and a clearer understanding of whether mycobacterial infection contributes to the pathogenesis of human inflammatory bowel disease.