Colloquium: Anita Koshy

    Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
    Meinel 307

    "The Role of Imaging in Understanding the Brain-Parasite Interaction of Toxoplasma Gondii, a Common Human Parasite"


    Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan pathogen that is estimated to latently infect the brain of up to one-third of the human population. Toxoplasma’s tropism for and persistence in the brain underlies the parasite’s ability to pass between intermediate hosts and to cause devastating neurologic disease in humans, especially the immunocompromised. Despite the clear importance of the central nervous system-parasite interaction to symptomatic disease, these interactions have long been understudied. Now, new molecular biological techniques in combination with advanced imaging provide the opportunity to radically change our understanding of the CNS-toxoplasma interaction, including understanding how the parasite crosses into the brain, which cells it targets and where the parasites encyst.

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Dr. Anita Koshy is an assistant professor in the departments of neurology and immunobiology at the University of Arizona. Koshy studied biology at Stanford University, where she discovered her love of neuroscience research. Ultimately, this interest led her to attend Duke University for medical school, during which time she confirmed her desire to become a clinician-scientist by working in the lab of Donna Ferriero at the University of California, San Francisco, as a Howard Hughes Medical Fellow. Her clinical and research interests led her to specialize in neuro-infectious diseases by training in internal medicine at the University of Washington, neurology at UCSF and infectious diseases at Stanford. She did a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of John Boothroyd, where she was able to establish a technique to identify which cells in the brain have interacted with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. In 2012, Koshy moved to the University of Arizona to establish her own lab, which continues to pursue understanding the molecular underpinnings of the brain-Toxoplasma interaction.