My research is focused on understanding why immune-compromised hosts, in particular Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) recipients, are susceptible to lung bacterial infections. The lung bacterial pathogens that successfully invade BMT recipients and are of interest to me are the gram negative aerobic Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, and the gram positive and aerotolerant Streptococcus Pneumoniae. Data collected in Beth Moore’s laboratory as well as in laboratories around the world has driven my research in studying the highly conserved cell self-digestive pathway, autophagy. Thus, the research that I have been conducting is focused on understanding how the first line of host defense in the lungs, Alveolar Macrophages (AMs), can take advantage of the autophagy machinery to degrade bacterial pathogens. Further, I have been working to demonstrate that differences in gene expression from AMs in the BMT recipients are interfering with the autophagy pathway leading to susceptibility to lung infections. We believe that the over secretion of an inhibitory lipid molecule termed PGE2 is responsible for the observed defect. To determine Alveolar Macrophages defensive functions, we use a novel BMT mouse model to conduct our experiments, in addition to using biotechnological techniques such as Qrt-PCR, western blotting, ELISA assays, and bacterial killing assays. My project also involves the study of the crosstalk between autophagy and Netosis, a recently identify death pathway characteristic of PMNs, in human and mouse Neutrophils.
2013 Rackham Merit Fellowship
2015 Rackham Conference Travel Grant
Martínez-Colón, Giovanny; Muñoz-Planillo, R., Kuffa, P. Núñez, G. K+ Efflux Is the Common Trigger of NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation by Bacterial Toxins and Particulate Matter. Inflammasome in Health and disease, Abcam. Boston, Massachusetts. June 2013. Poster.
Martínez-Colón, Giovanny; Rulland, Megan; Stewart, Sheila. Understanding the mechanism that drives aged related increases in tumorgenesis. Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students; St. Louis, MO. 2011. Poster.
K+ Efflux Is the Common Trigger of NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation by Bacterial Toxins and Particulate Matter; Raúl Muñoz-Planillo; Peter Kuffa; Giovanny Martínez-Colón; Brenna L. Smith; Thekkelnaycke M. Rajendiran; Gabriel Núñez. Immunity, 38 (2013) 11421153.doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2013.05.016