Weil Lab Research

The Weil laboratory is devoted to research on filarial nematode parasites that cause important tropical diseases such as lymphatic filariasis and "river blindness". Our work is focused on the development and field application of improved diagnostic tests, on developing improved therapies, and on basic parasite biology. For example, we (with others) have developed new diagnostic tests for filariasis and onchocerciasis based on detection of parasite antigens, parasite DNA, and human antibodies to recombinant parasite antigens. Ongoing field studies are exploring the value of these newer tests for monitoring the impact of mass treatment programs on filariasis prevalence rates and transmission. We are also studying effects of antibiotic treatment directed against Wolbachia (endosymbiotic bacteria) on filarial worm survival and development. In more basic studies, we are using the complementary approaches of oligonucleotide microarrays and proteomics to study stage and gender-specific gene expression in filarial worms.