Understanding how and why elderly people are more susceptible to tuberculosis infection is a research focus of Texas Biomedical Research Institute’s Vice President for Research (VPR). Joanne Turner, Ph.D. is a Professor performing research on tuberculosis (TB), centering on the immune system in relation to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and aging.
Inside the Lab
Dr. Turner studies the changes that take place in the immune system during the natural aging process and how those changes can influence both innate and adaptive immune function when infected with M. tuberculosis. The primary focus of Dr. Turner’s aging research is the association of inflammation with susceptibility to develop TB. She also studies immune responses that correlate with an individual’s age-associated susceptibility to reactivate a previously latent infection with M. tuberculosis.
An additional area of research in Dr. Turner’s laboratory is focused on using different genetic mouse strains to better model immune responses in humans. By doing so, her team has defined a major role for an immune-suppressive cytokine, interleukin 10, in TB susceptibility.
Main Technologies and Methods Used
- Cellular immunology
- Animal modeling of M. tuberculosis infection
- Animal modeling of aging
- Flow cytometry