Elizabeth S. Didier, Ph.D.
B.S., Biology, Denison University, Granville, OH
M.S., Biology, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Ph.D., Immunology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
Over many years, research in the Didier lab focused on microsporidia that are emerging and re-emerging fungal parasites associated with opportunistic infections and disease in humans including persons with HIV, organ transplant recipients, malnourished children, and the elderly. Subclinical infections are common in otherwise healthy individuals, and infections are transmitted between humans and from animals. Our research has utilized murine and nonhuman primate models of microsporidiosis to study molecular epidemiology, immunology, pathophysiology, drug therapies, and diagnostic methods. We also collaborated with investigators to better understand the evolution of the microsporidia.
More recently, our research has transitioned to studies on the immunology of aging to develop a nonhuman primate model that can be applied to better understand human aging. Markers of inflammation are being used to test predictions about vaccine efficacy and infection susceptibility in relation to healthy vs less-healthy aging. We also collaborate with Dr. Marcelo Kuroda, Chair in the Division of Immunology to study the role of macrophages in innate immunity and pathogenesis, as well as in the establishment of viral reservoirs using the nonhuman primate model of SIV/AIDS plus ART and accelerated aging.
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