My lab is developing models to study the pathology/immunology of human disease. My primary research focus is on Immunology, Mucosal Immunology, Infectious Disease and Virology. In particular, we are utilizing humanized mouse models to enable the comprehensive examination of viruses with human tropism such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). With this model, we will perform studies examining Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), test vaccines and examine immune responses.
40% of deaths in people with HIV are from co-infections with tuberculosis (TB)(WHO-2016). The lack of HIV/TB co-infection models has been widely acknowledged in the field and experts have denoted this as an unmet scientific need. Thus, we are establishing a novel model of HIV/TB co-infection. This model is necessary because treatment, prophylaxis and disease outcome is different in individuals singly infected with HIV or TB or those co-infected with both. In general HIV/TB co-infections can be lethal because each tends to speed the progression of the other. HIV/TB co-infection is a global issue that requires further research and establishing this model to closely examine the phenomenon will be an important step towards managing and/or preventing this disease. We will ultimately use the HIV/TB co-infection model to understand immune responses in co-infected individuals and to develop vaccines and therapies that can decrease the mortality rates and health burden of this co-infection. We also use in vitro methods to investigate these areas.
Dr. Gillgrass is involved with the Faculty of Health Sciences teaching the following courses:
- HTH SCI 1J03- Life Sciences for Clinical Practice
- HTH SCI 3E03- Inquiry: Cancer Immunotherapy