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Rajender Deora, PhD

Rajendar Deora, Ph.D., Associate Professor                             

Dr. Deora received a M.Sc. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Calcutta. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1997 with a Ph.D. in Microbiology. Dr. Deora joined WFUHS as an Assistant professor in 2003 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2010.

Virulence mechanisms of Bacterial pathogens; Molecular determinants of pathogenesis and Biofilm development; Host pathogen interactions, Effectiveness of small molecules on the colonization of and biofilm formation in the murine respiratory tract, Vaccine Development.


1. Functional Genomics. By mining the sequenced genomes, we have identified several new genes and loci in Bordetella. We are currently utilizing in vitro systems, cell culture and mouse models (including knockout and immuno-deficient mice) to study their role in controlling gene expression and contributing to adhesion, resistance to host defenses and respiratory tract colonization.

2. Development of better vaccines for B. pertussis. Alum, the current adjuvant in acellular pertussis vaccines (aPV) fails to elicit appropriate immune responses for optimum protection against B. pertussis. Thus, substitution of alum with an adjuvant that induces Th1-type responses may increase vaccine efficacy. This could be particularly advantageous if the immune-stimulatory activity was derived from B. pertussis itself, thus providing both adjuvant function and an additional B. pertussis antigen in a novel aPV combination. We have identified Bordetella Colonization Factor A (BcfA) as an immune-stimulatory factor. BcfA has adjuvant function and induces Th1 type T cell responses. We are currently testing the ability of BcfA to enhance immune responses to current vaccines.

3. Bacterial biofilms. Biofilms are highly structured communities of cells that are encased in a self-produced polymeric organic matrix and are increasingly recognized as important contributors to chronic or persistent diseases. We hypothesize that the prevalent nasopharyngeal carriage of B. pertussis in adults and adolescents represents the biofilm state. The preliminary and published results with B. pertussis biofilms in mice strongly implicate this lifestyle in humans. We are examining the role of the biofilm-associated Bps polysaccharide in biofilm development, and pathogenesis of B. pertussis. We are also investigating the contribution of the host innate and adaptive in the progression of biofilm.

4. Effectiveness of small molecules on the colonization of and biofilm formation by Bordetella in the murine respiratory tract. We have shown that a new class of compounds inhibits bacterial biofilm formation in vitro. The mouse models of Bordetella infection represent a robust system to examine whether these compounds inhibit biofilm formation and/or disrupt a pre-existing respiratory tract biofilm. We have also identified an essential regulator in B. pertussis that regulates genes critical for laboratory survival. Experiments are underway to identify small molecules that inhibit its activity.



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