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About Us

Invasive fungal infections are a leading cause of death among immunocompromised patients. It is therefore essential to define the cellular and molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions in order to improve outcomes for patients with invasive fungal infections. At the Vyas Laboratory in the Infectious Diseases Division of Massachusetts General Hospital, our research interests lie at the intersection between pathogenic fungal organisms and the immune system.

The first line of defense against these pathogens is phagocytic cells including neutrophils, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Once phagocytes recognize and engulf fungal pathogens, they are placed into membrane-delimited compartments termed phagosomes. In a process known as phagosome maturation, ingested materials are trafficked through a series of increasingly acidified structures, ultimately leading to the degradation of the pathogen. The Vyas Lab uses fungal pathogens of clinical importance including Cryptococcus neoformans, Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans as the model pathogens to study phagosome formation and maturation. Using live cell imaging, fluorescently-tagged proteins, and genetic models we visualize primary macrophages and their responses to fungi. We examine the role of pattern-recognition receptors such as Dectin-1 and Toll-like receptors in fungal immunity. We are also interested in the role of type I interferons (IFNs) and members of the tetraspanin family and their effects on host defense to fungal pathogens. Knowledge gained understanding these molecular events will hopefully tailor the immune response to these clinically relevant fungal pathogens in immunocompromised patients.

Publications

View a full list of the Vyas Lab publications on PubMed.

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Images

RAW macrophage expressing TLR9-GFP (green) stimulate with Alexa-Fluor 647-conjugated CpG (blue) and stained with LysoTracker (red). TLR9 is recruited to phagosomes as seen by co-localization with LysoTracker and CpG staining.
Dendritic cell expressing Class II MHC-GFP (green) sends out tubular projection to Cryptococcus neoformans (red).
Micro-Optical Coherence Tomography (µOCT) capturing the migration of neutrophils across human airway epithelial cells (topbottom) in response to Aspergillus fumigatus infection.
A bone marrow derived macrophage co-expresses CD82-RFP (red) and YFP-tubulin (green).


Principal Investigator

Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Internal Medicine Residency Program Director, Massachusetts General Hospital
View Dr. Vyas's Harvard Catalyst profile

Lab Members

Jennifer L. Reedy, MD, PhD
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Rebecca Ward, PhD
Medical Writer

Arianne Crossen
Research Technician

Jessica Pacia
Research Technician

Tammy Vyas
Lab Manager

Previous Lab Members

Michael Mansour, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Jenny M. Tam, PhD
Staff Scientist, Wyss Institute

Michael Feldman, MD, PhD
Associate Medical Director in Translational Medicine, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Allison (Timmons) Lord, PhD
Senior Manager, Global Medical Communications, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Nida S. Khan, PhD
Senior Scientist in Immunology ADC, AbbVie Inc

Marianela Feliu
MD Candidate, The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Paige Negoro
Medical Student, Loyola University Chicago

Daniel Lukason
PhD Candidate, Tufts University

Richard Dutko, MS
Research Associate, Beam Therapeutics

Pia Kasperkovitz, PhD
Toxicology Project Leader, Roche

Sunnie Kuna, DMD
Dental Resident, Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Peter Davids
Tech Lead, Drift

Michael Seward
MD Candidate, Harvard Medical School

Srav Puranam, MD, MSc
Pediatric Anesthesia Resident, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford

Michael Cardenas, MD
Radiation Oncology Medical Resident, UC Davis Health