Monday, October 9: The importance of disease model development for emerging and neglected infectious diseases


Topic: The importance of disease model development for emerging and neglected infectious diseases.

Speaker: Dr. Thomas Shelite

Date/Time/Location: Monday, October 9, 7:30pm, The Donut Whole (1720 E. Douglas)


The emergence of new infectious diseases and the continued persistence of neglected diseases continue to be global threats. Development of models that resemble human disease is an important step in understanding the damage induced by these pathogens. This allows for research into better diagnostics, treatments, as well as preventive measures such as vaccines. The accuracy of these models are imperative to the advancement of infectious disease research.


Dr. Shelite is WSU alumni, receiving his BS and MSc for the department of Biological Sciences. He was awarded his PhD May of 2014 from the Experimental Pathology program at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. His field of research has been focused on rickettsial pathogenesis and host immunity to these pathogens. As such, Dr. Shelite as extensive training (10 years) at Biosafety level 3 (BSL3) and Animal Biosafety 3 (ABSL3), making him uniquely qualified for work in higher level containment.  His dissertation research established a hematogenously disseminated murine model of scrub typhus that closely parallels the pathology of human disease. This model provides a powerful new tool to study the host’s immune response to an important neglected tropical disease.  Dr. Shelite has a unique understanding of tissue pathology and will be able to use this knowledge to produce a novel understanding of the immunopathology observed in scrub typhus.  His career interests are understanding the immune mechanisms that contribute to disease pathogenesis. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Bruno Travi’s laboratory working on the development of rapid point-of-care diagnostics for emerging and neglected tropical pathogens to be used in resource limited countries

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