College of Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology

Audrey O.T. Lau, MPH, PhD

Audrey LauAudrey O.T. Lau, MPH, PhD
Assistant Professor

Research interest

My research focus is on host-pathogen interactions and can be divided into two aspects: (i) the genomic basis of virulence and (ii) chemotherapeutics.  My goal is to create a knowledge database that will help the field to better understand disease pathogenesis among apicomplexan parasites and, eventually, to develop novel treatments for combating diseases such as malaria and babesiosis.  The protozoan my laboratory studies is Babesia sp. which not only offers as a great model system for understanding apicomplexans in general as all experiments can be performed in the natural mammalian and tick (Rhipicephalus microplus) hosts, the asexual blood stages can be routinely propagated in vitro and one species that we work on can be genetically manipulated by transient and stable transfection, babesiosis is rapidly emerging as a public health issue in human medicine here in the United States.  My laboratory uses “omic” approaches to answer some fundamental questions of host cell invasion, egression, immune evasion and any other phenotypic changes to adapt to the different environmental milieus for survival.  We have sequenced several genomes of virulent and attenuated Babesia strain and validated novel blood stage microarray.  Transcriptomic analysis through next generation sequencing techonology also provided us a glimpse into how this pathogen modulates its gene expression pattern as a result of attenuation.  Global genomic and transcriptomic analysis also reveals targets within this protozoan that may be used as drug candidates.  Overall, the Babesia model system and available molecular tools will contribute to the better understand this parasite and likely to other apicomplexans as well.


Selected Publications: (All)

Cilingir G, Lau AOT and Broschat SL.  ApicoAMP: The first computational model for identifying apicoplast-targeted transmembrane proteins in apicomplexa. (accepted in Journal of Microbiological Methods)(2013).

Pedroni MJ, Sondgeroth KS, Lopez GM, Echaide I and Lau AOT. Comparative transcriptome analysis of geographical distinct virulent and attenuated Babesia bovis reveals different attenuation profiles (accepted in BMC Genomics)(2013).

Sondgeroth KS, McElwain TF, Allen AJ, Chen AV and Lau AOT.  Loss of neurovirulence is associated with reduction of cerebral capillary sequestration during acute Babesia bovis infection. Parasites and Vectors 6:181 (2013).

Lau AOT, Pedroni MJ and Bhanot P.  Target-specific trisubstituted pyrrole inhibits Babesia erythrocytic growth. Experimental Parasitology 133: 365-8 (2013).

Pedroni MJ, Luu TNK and Lau AOTBabesia bovis: Bipartite signal sequence directs glutamyl tRNA synthetase to the apicoplast. Experimental Parasitology 131(2): 261-6 (2012). 

Cilingir G, Broschat SL and Lau AOT. ApicoAP: Predicting apicoplast-targeted proteins in multiple Apicomplexans using rule-based classifiers optimized via a genetic algorithm. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36598 (2012).

Caballero MC, Pedroni MJ, Palmer GH, Davitt C, Suarez CE and Lau AOT. Characterization of an acyl carrier protein and LytB within Babesia bovis apicoplast. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, 181: 125-133 (2012).

Mesplet M, Palmer GH, Pedroni MJ, Florin-Christensen M, Schnittger L and Lau AOT. Genome-wide analysis of peptidase content and virulence in a virulent and attenuated Babesia bovis strain pair.  Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, 179: 111-113 (2011).

Lau AOT, Kalyanaraman A, Echaide I, Palmer GH, Bock R, Pedroni MJ, Rameshkumar M, Ferreira MB, Fletcher TI and McElwain TF.  Virulence loss in apicomplexans is a reduction of population structure complexity. BMC Genomics, 12:410 (2011).


Last Edited: Oct 03, 2013 11:51 AM   

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