Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Tera C. Levin, PhD

Dr. Levin is studying the interaction of host cells with the pathogens that infect them. These interactions cause repeated cycles of evolution, leaving “signatures” in both host and pathogen genomes specifically at molecular interfaces of host-pathogen binding. Evolutionary signatures can be used to pinpoint genes critical to disease progression. She is specifically examining the interactions between the pathogenic bacteria Legionella pneumophila and its and amoeba hosts. Her research will inform ongoing efforts to control this pathogen and reduce outbreaks. In addition, her studies have the potential to help cancer patients, who are immunocompromised after undergoing chemotherapy; they are susceptible to Legionella pneumophila infections that can result in a life-threatening, pneumonia-like disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality.

Project title: "Master microbial manipulators: how hosts are shaped by bacterial interactions"
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Award Program: Dale Frey Scientist
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Basic Genetics