Our lab is focused on understanding how pathogenic microbes gain access to host cells and cause disease. We focus on mechanisms used by bacterial pathogens to establish infection as well as the host responses that serve to limit pathogenic intruders. Listera monocytogenes is a Gram-positive bacterium that lives in the soil but maintains the ability to invade host cells and replicate within the host cell cytosol. Current rotations projects in my lab include the study of bacterial signaling systems that regulate bacterial replication within host cells and also contribute to bacterial fitness. L.monocytogenes is also capable of crossing the placenta to establish fetal infections. We have identified isolates of L. monocytogenes that exhibit enhanced transmission from mother to child, and we are working to define how these isolates gain entry to fetal tissue using mouse infection models. Rotation projects focused on infection of the fetus and host responses to limit placental/fetal infection are also available.