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John Spencer

Assistant Professor

Office: B208 Microbiology
Office Phone: (970)491-3525

Research Interests

Immunology of M. leprae and M. tuberculosis, epitope mapping, proteomics, and diagnostic development

With the support of the NIH/NIAID Leprosy Contract (Leprosy Research Support and Maintenance of an Armadillo Colony Post Genome Era Contract, N01 AI-25469), our laboratory provides reagents derived from armadillo grown M. leprae bacilli used to produce whole cells, subcellular antigen fractions, carbohydrate and glycolipid molecules (such as lipoarabinomannan and the M. leprae-specific phenolic glycolipid, PGL-I), DNA, as well as E. coli-derived recombinant proteins to researchers all over the world, particularly where leprosy is endemic.

The recent completion of the genome sequences of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. leprae and other mycobacterial species provides a unique opportunity to study the proteomes of these organisms using high throughput methodologies, such as 2-D PAGE and LC-MS-MS. Our research is focused on the following: (1) defining B and T cell epitopes of immunologically important proteins of M. leprae and M. tuberculosis that are recognized in animal infection models and human disease; (2) define disease-state-specific antigens of tuberculoid and lepromatous leprosy patients using ELISA, Western blot and protein/peptide microarray techniques; (3) identify recombinant proteins and/or peptides that can be combined to develop a simple in vitro blood test towards the early diagnosis of leprosy; 4) examine T cell and serological responses to unique and low-homology M. leprae proteins identified by in silico analysis. Our overall goals of the above projects are geared to the development of improved diagnostics, vaccines, and further understand the cell mediated and humoral immune responses representing the spectrum of leprosy disease.

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Contact Us:
1682 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1682

(970) 491-6144

(970) 491-0603