Welcome to the Serbus lab


Up to 15% of all insects carry bacterial endosymbionts within the body cavity. Among the most prevalent endosymbionts is Wolbachia pipientis,an Alpha-proteobacterium related to Rickettsia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and mitochondria . 

Wolbachia bacteria are especially known for:

     1.) Manipulating arthropod reproduction

          i.e. feminization, male-killing, sperm-egg incompatibility, parthenogenesis

     2.) Causing neglected disease in millions of people

           i.e. African River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis)

     3.) Suppressing vector-borne viruses that afflict humans worldwide

           i.e. Dengue Fever, Chikungunya

Our focus: Wolbachia-host interaction mechanisms

Our research group investigates how Wolbachia bacteria interact with eukaryotic cells.  We are interested in several areas, with our current focus on how bacterial load is regulated within eukaryotic cells.  The main model system we use is Wolbachia-infected Drosophila melanogasterThe findings from this work are expected to contribute to fundamental understanding of host-microbe interactions and advancement of human health interests.

PROJECT: Defining the cellular basis of endosymbiosis