- Department of Biochemistry
- College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Dr. Jutras’s research focuses on studying the basic biology of the spirochetal bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. He uses cutting-edge molecular, cellular, and immunological tools to understand the fundamental basis of host-pathogen interactions, in addition to vector/host competence, Lyme arthritis, and neuroborreliosis.
Lyme borreliosis is the most reported vector-borne disease in the United States. Using the essential bacterial cell-wall component, peptidoglycan, as a bio-tool, in conjunction with quantitative microscopy and molecular techniques, Dr. Jutras is discovering new biology that underlies the pathogenesis of Lyme disease. Current projects include using novel screens, coupled with new molecular and cellular tools, to unravel the biology that underlies B. burgdorferi and other spirochetes’ growth and division, studying the pathogenesis of spirochetal peptidoglycan and its role in Lyme arthritis, including how these unique modifications influence host immunomodulation, and studying the biophysical properties of peptidoglycan, and its broad implications on bacterial motility, virulence, and vector competence.