Post Doctoral Fellow
I received my Ph.D. from UAMS in May 2020 where I studied the causative agent of Q fever, Coxiella burnetii. C. burnetii is a Gram-negative bacterium with an aerosol mode of transmission and potential use as a bioweapon. My main focus was to characterize human alveolar infection as well as signaling of antioxidant transcription factor, Nrf2. I have continued as a Post Doctoral Fellow at UAMS in Dr. Daniel Voth’s lab, where I am progressing my research on C. burnetii and beginning my studies on another pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus is a Gram-positive bacterium that is well-known for causing potentially fatal pneumonia. Here, I am working on the activation of Nrf2 throughout infection with C. burnetii, dissecting the important pathways involved in this process such as autophagy, apoptosis, and oxidative stress. I am also analyzing the macrophage phenotypic switch from pro-inflammatory M1 to anti-inflammatory M2 during infection with C. burnetii or S. aureus. This switch creates a more permissible environment for bacteria to survive and replicate. I am interested in determining the time point during infection at which this transition occurs, characterizing the infection differences in a M1 vs. M2 environment, and dissecting the mechanism behind this switch. These projects will be completed using our ex vivo human lung model platform, using both human alveolar macrophages (hAMs) and human precision cut lung slices (hPCLS).
- Dragan, A.L. and D.E. Voth. 2019. Coxiella burnetii: International Pathogen of Mystery. Microbes and Infection. doi:10.1016/j.micinf.2019.09.001.
- Dragan, A.L., Kurten, R.C., Voth, D.E. 2019. Characterization of Early Stages of Human Alveolar Infection by the Q Fever Agent, Coxiella burnetii. Infection and Immunity. 87(5): e00028-19.
- Winchell, C.G.*, Dragan, A.L.*, Brann, K.R., Onyilagha, F.I., Kurten, R.C., and Voth, D.E. 2018. Coxiella burnetii subverts p62/SQSTM-1 and activates Nrf2 signaling in human macrophages. Infection and Immunity. 86(5): e00608-17.