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Grayfer Lab

Research in the Grayfer lab is focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanisms governing vertebrate antimicrobial responses and how these processes have evolved to meet the immunological challenges faced by amphibians, which are facing alarming global population declines and extinctions.

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The Immune Cells

The Grayfer research group is particularly interested in immune cells known as macrophages and granulocytes because all vertebrates rely on these cells to recognize infiltrating pathogens, to initiate, and to orchestrate the ensuing immune responses.

The Pathogens

Perhaps because of their importance to animal health, many pathogens have evolved strategies to evade and some, even to thrive within these immune cells. This includes pathogens such as mycobacteria, but also the Frog Virus 3 (FV3) ranavirus and the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), both of which are major contributors to the global amphibian declines.

The Animal Model

Accordingly, members of the Grayfer lab employ the best-characterized amphibian animal model, the Xenopus laevis frog, to study the mechanisms governing pathogen susceptibility and immunological resistance of frog macrophages and granulocytes.

Antimicrobial Defenses in Amphibians: Research

Research Findings

In their skin, frogs possess resident immune cells known as granulocytes. By depleting and enriching these cells within the frog skin tissues, the Grayfer lab is studying the roles of these immune sentinels in host defense against fungal and bacterial pathogens.

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Antimicrobial Defenses in Amphibians: Gallery
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