The research lab of X. Frank Yang, PhD studies bacterial pathogenesis—how bacterial pathogens colonize the host, evade host immune response and cause diseases. The ultimate goals are to develop new diagnostic tools and vaccine to detect and prevent bacterial infections.
The Yang Lab focuses on two groups of pathogens, the spirochetal pathogens (the causative agents of Lyme disease, Syphilis and Leptospirosis) and the vector-borne pathogens. How B. burgdorferi is maintained in the tick vector is also not clear.
Lyme disease is the number-one vector-borne disease in the US, but little is known on how the pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi, causes disease (Lyme arthritis, Lyme carditis, neuroborreliosis). The laboratory has identified two key regulatory networks (Hk2-Rrp2, Hk1-Rrp1) and two di-nucleotide secondary messengers (c-di-GMP, c-di-AMP), that are essential for the pathogen to infect mice and to survive in the tick vector.