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Welcome to the Dionne lab!

We are interested in (1) the effects of host genetics on the biology of infection; and (2) the physiological control of metabolic balance.

Host genetics and the biology of infection

Different individuals show different levels of resistance to specific infections and exhibit different pathogeneic effects after infection. We are interested in why this is the case. We use the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster as a model host to study these questions; this allows us to screen for genes that affect the progress of infection in a rapid and unbiased fashion.

All of our experiments originate from a simple genetic screen. Mutant flies are infected with Mycobacterium marinum, a bacterium closely-related to the causative agent of tuberculosis, or with Mycobacterium smegmatis, a related non-pathogen. We select lines of flies that die more quickly or more slowly than wild-type controls and determine the mutation that gives rise to this phenotype. We then try to understand what this phenotype tells us about the function of the mutated gene.

Physiological control of metabolic balance

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