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K-State Today

November 12, 2020

Becky Lamason to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

Becky Lamason, Robert A. Swanson career development assistant professor in the biology department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present "Bacterial Pathogens Hijack Host Machinery to Promote Cell-to-Cell Spread" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, via Zoom.

The Lamason lab investigates how diverse bacterial pathogens reprogram host machinery during infection. We focus on two intracellular bacterial pathogens, Rickettsia parkeri and Listeria monocytogenes, and explore how these pathogens move through our tissues using a process called cell-to-cell spread. Despite the importance of this process for virulence, little is known about the key bacterial and host factors required for cell-to-cell spread. We have discovered that these pathogens spread throughout our tissues by targeting host intercellular communication pathways — e.g. endocytosis, adhesion, membrane remodeling — and manipulating different force-generating machinery. We are continuing to explore the molecular underpinnings of spread by combining genetic, cell biological, biochemical and biophysical approaches to determine how bacteria manipulate host cell processes to promote spread. Ultimately, our goal is to reveal exciting mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions to gain fundamental insights into pathogenesis and host cell biology.

If you would like to visit with Lamason, please contact Stephanie Shames at sshames@k-state.edu