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   Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology
   Tulane University School of Medicine
   1430 Tulane Avenue, SL-38
   New Orleans, Louisiana 70112-2699
   Telephone: (504) 988-5150
Kerstin Honer zu Bentrup, Ph.D.

Research Interests:

- Microscopy
- Bacterial Pathogenesis
- Three-dimensional cell-culture systems


Fluorescent microscopy is the state-of-the-art technique for visualizing host-pathogen interactions due to its ease of use and the availability of a vast array of fluorescent dyes. It is the most rapidly expanding microscopy technique employed today, both in the medical and biological sciences, a fact which has spurred the development of more sophisticated microscopes and numerous fluorescence accessories. Fluorescence microscopy is capable of imaging the distribution of a single molecular species based solely on the properties of fluorescence emission. Thus, using fluorescence microscopy, the precise location of intracellular components labeled with specific fluorophores can be monitored, as well as their associated diffusion coefficients, transport characteristics, and interactions with other biomolecules. In addition, the dramatic response in fluorescence to localized environmental variables enables the investigation of pH, viscosity, refractive index, ionic concentrations, membrane potential, and solvent polarity in living cells and tissues. Fluorescent microscopy is the state-of-the-art technique for visualizing host-pathogen interactions due to its ease of use and the availability of a vast array of fluorescent dyes. It has become the method of choice in many applications and comprises a significant part of the methods used in the Life Sciences.


As the manager of the Microbiology Imaging Facility I am specialized on different techniques of light microscopy. I provide microscopy and imaging expertise to the department, as well as to other members of the TUHSC. This includes training of students and faculty in the use and operation of the equipment, and advice in planning suitable experiments to fully utilize the capabilities of the microscopes.


Besides educating and supporting the research community at TUHSC in the various aspects of microscopy, my current research interests include developing three-dimensional cell culture systems. These innovative models are used for studying various aspects of bacterial pathogenesis as well as other diseases. I am also collaborating with Dr. Lisa Morici’s laboratory on examining the molecular basis by which the “select agent”, Burkholderia pseudomallei, evades host innate immune responses. We are using a variety of approaches to identify novel surface proteins of B. pseudomallei that influence disease outcome through initial interactions with lung epithelial cells for the purposes of vaccine discovery and delivery.


Past research interests of mine include studying the pathogenesis of Salmonella typhimurium as well as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, analyzing a V-type ATPase in the thermophilic bacterium Clostridium fervidus, and characterizing a bacterial ABC-transport system.

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Kerstin Honer zu Bentrup, Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Tulane University Health Sciences Center
1430 Tulane Ave., SL-38
New Orleans, LA, 70112
(504) 988-4609
Fax (504) 988-5144
e-mail


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu