The Laboratory of Human Pathogens focuses on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of human infectious diseases and on host-pathogen interactions. The overall goal of the laboratory is to identify mechanisms of pathogenesis for infectious diseases that affect humans. A second major goal of the laboratory is to positively impact the quality of life for Erie County residents by conducting research on infectious diseases of specific importance to the region. The Laboratory of Human Pathogens has active collaborations with the Laboratories of Tropical Diseases at the University of New Mexico, the Erie County Department of Health, the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, and several area colleges and universities.
Specific projects in the laboratory involve molecular and epidemiological research on the prevalence of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), babesiosis (Babesia microti), human anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum), and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (Rickettsia rickettsii) in Erie County. In addition, recent and current Masters in Science in Biomedical Science thesis projects focus on the effect of plant essential oils on overcoming antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus, such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).