Jeremy Thompson, M.S., Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University
Research in the Harris lab involves understanding how the immune system mounts a response in the brain, typically considered an immune privileged organ. We use the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii to establish a chronic infection in the CNS.
During infection with T. gondii immune cells from the periphery enter the brain to control the infection. The roles of many of these immune cells types have been studied in the context of T. gondii infection. Currently, however, it is unknown how the resident immune cells of the brain, microglia, respond to T. gondii. My project focuses on understanding the function of these cells during CNS infection.