Higgins Lab Department of Microbiology 
Harvard Medical School 
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Research Interests

Our laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms of intracellular bacterial pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions and the cellular immune response to intracellular pathogens. Building upon extensive expertise in the areas of microbial pathogenesis, molecular genetics, immunology, and the cell biology of infection, our group has pioneered multiple approaches and made significant contributions to understanding the mechanisms of intracellular bacterial pathogenesis and the host immune response to infection.

Some of the labís accomplishments include: the development of inducible genetic systems to determine the temporal requirement and function of bacterial virulence determinants; pioneering the use of RNA interference (RNAi) to conduct genome-wide screens to identify host factors required for intracellular bacterial infection; the identification of novel regulators of gene expression that govern motility and virulence of bacterial pathogens; the development of small molecule screens to discover novel compounds that inhibit intracellular bacterial infection; and the development of systems to rapidly identify which proteins from the entire proteome of a pathogen can serve as antigens to stimulate protective cellular immune responses for novel vaccine formulations.

Our lab is continuing its efforts to understand the function and regulation of expression of bacterial virulence determinants, the host cell requirements for intracellular infection, the identification and contribution of T cell-eliciting antigens for vaccine development, and the development of novel therapeutic strategies against microbial pathogens.

Visit the People page to learn about individual lab members' projects.