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Dr. Mary Marquart's Research

My laboratory research focuses on ocular bacterial infections, particularly those caused by streptococcus pneumoniae. Two of the pneumococcal virulence factors in which we are interested are the outer polysaccharide capsule and the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin, pneumolysin. Both the capsule and pneumolysin have been previously determined to be important in the pathogenesis of a variety of the classically known pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia. We have recently determined that the capsule is important for clinical disease severity and bacterial replication in S. pneumoniae endophthalmitis, but is unimportant for S. pneumoniae keratitis. Pneumolysin, which is a virulence factor for both diseases, is being investigated at the molecular level to determine its specific interaction with host ocular tissues. These studies are aimed to identify potential targets for alternative or adjunct therapies for pneumococcal eye infections.