Dr. Ryan’s research seeks to increase the understanding of the interface between pathogenic bacteria and the human immune system, especially relating to development and use of vaccines in resource poor areas of the world. The primary research focus is on enteric human-restricted bacterial enteric pathogens: Vibrio cholerae (the cause of cholera), and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and serovar Paratyphi (the causes of enteric fever-typhoid). In collaborative efforts with researchers at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), Dr. Ryan’s group is using high throughput genomic, proteomic, and immunomic technologies to evaluate bacterial-host interactions during these human infections.
Using this knowledge, their translational areas of research include the development and evaluation of nonparenteral immunization strategies, including transcutaneous immunization (TCI), development of mucosal vaccines using attenuated organisms as vectors for expressing heterologous antigens at mucosal surfaces, development and evaluation of conjugate vaccines, and combination oral-TCI prime boost strategies. Such immunization approaches have particular attraction in resource-poor areas of the world.