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Barbara Burleigh, Ph.D.

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Yale University School of MedicineAssociate Research Scientist1999Molecular Parasitology
Yale University School of MedicinePost-doctoral fellow1997Host-pathogen interactions; parasitology; cell biology.
University of Western OntarioPh.D1992Molecular and Cellular Parasitology
University of Western OntarioB.Sc.1986Microbiology

Barbara Burleigh holds a joint appointment as Professor in the Departments of Immunology and Infectious Diseases as well as the Department of Molecular Metabolism. After obtaining her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular parasitology from the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Burleigh trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale School of Medicine, where she gained expertise in the cell biology of host-pathogen interactions.

As an obligate intracellular parasite that lives in the cytoplasm of its mammalian host cell, the Chagas' disease parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, forges functional connections with its host cell in order to survive. In other words, T. cruzi becomes part of an integrated biological system: the 'host-parasite network'. Research in my laboratory seeks to understand how T. cruzi exploits host functions to establish intracellular infection in mammalian cells. Our general approach has been to view this relationship through the lens of the mammalian host cell, where our studies have probed mechanisms of host cell entry by T. cruzi, identified cellular pathways that support intracellular replication of the parasite and have determined the impact of infection on host gene expression and physiology. In these efforts, we have exploited a combination of genomic, transcriptomic and cell biological approaches. With the advancement of genome-scale technologies, we are now in a position to integrate parasite and host gene expression data with host functional genomic data to expose biological networks representing metabolic cross talk between host and parasite. Our recent functional genomic studies, for example, indicate critical points in host metabolic networks to which T. cruzi parasites couple their metabolic needs. The role of host cellular metabolism in supporting T. cruzi infection is a new area of investigation in the Chagas' disease field that we are excited to develop with key collaborators. These studies will provide essential insights into the fundamental basis for T. cruzi parasitism, which has the potential to be leveraged in the development of novel therapeutics for Chagas' disease.

Current projects in the lab include the study of host fatty acid metabolism and its role in fueling T. cruzi replication in myoblasts and iPSC-derived human cardiomyocytes; the role of host cytoskeletal dynamics in supporting intracellular parasite growth; and the use of transcriptomic signatures (RNA-Seq) to predict metabolic and functional adaptation in T. cruzi developmental stages and across recent parasite isolates.

The Role of Endosomal Regulators and ER-Mediated Phagocytosis in Trypanosoma cruzi Invasion and Vacuole Maturation
Summer, 05/23/05 - 07/31/06

The research activities and funding listed below are automatically derived from NIH ExPORTER and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing items. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
  1. R21AI166974 (BURLEIGH, BARBARA A) Sep 27, 2021 - Aug 31, 2023
    Exploring the potential to improve azole efficacy against Trypanosoma cruzi by targeting glutamine metabolism
    Role: Principal Investigator
  2. R21AI146815 (BURLEIGH, BARBARA A) Jun 10, 2019 - May 31, 2021
    Exploring metabolic resistance to small molecule inhibitors in Trypanosoma cruzi
    Role: Principal Investigator
  3. R21AI135520 (BURLEIGH, BARBARA A) Dec 4, 2017 - Nov 30, 2020
    Characterization of a novel interaction between intracellular T. cruzi amastigotes and host mitochondria
    Role: Principal Investigator
  4. R01AI114622 (BURLEIGH, BARBARA A) May 1, 2015 - Apr 30, 2021
    Role of host fatty acid metabolism in Trypanosoma cruzi amastigote growth
    Role: Principal Investigator
  5. R21AI113121 (BURLEIGH, BARBARA A) Jan 1, 2015 - Jun 30, 2017
    Functional characterization of Trypanosoma cruzi-host cytoskeletal interactions
    Role: Principal Investigator

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.