Dr. Nelson's group currently works in two distinct, but sometimes, overlapping areas of microbial pathogenesis. One focus is the identification and characterization of chlamydial virulence factors that allow these pathogens to target specific tissues and circumvent immunity.
A second focus of his laboratory is urogenital pathogen discovery.
Research: Chlamydial pathogenesis, microbiome pathogen interactions and pathogen discovery
More recently, we began studying interactions of C. trachomatis with the urogenital and gastrointestinal microbiomes.
We are now investigating if the composition of genital and gastrointestinal microbiomes is pertinent to C. trachomatis susceptibility and transmission in humans, and if some of the novel microorganisms we have recently identified are pathogens themselves, using a combination of metagenomic, immunological and epidemiological approaches.
Specific projects currently active in my laboratory include:
- Identification of C. muridarum genes that dictate host tropism
- Identification of determinants of chlamydial pathogenesis
- Microbiome of the human urogenital tract and pathogen discovery
I currently direct a large case/control clinical study which is assessing if novel pathogens are linked to a common but undefined urogenital syndrome, idiopathic urethritis, in men. More broadly, I am interested in improving the standard of care for urogenital tract infections. Finally, I study factors that could modulate susceptibility to Chlamydia infection, detrimental outcomes of these infections, and the mechanisms of immune protection against Chlamydia and other urogenital tract pathogens.