New Faculty

Dr. Bruce Rosa joins the Department of Medicine

Dr. Bruce Rosa joined the Department of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases Division as an Assistant Professor on July 1, 2019.

Dr. Rosa received his PhD in Biotechnology from Lakehead University (Canada), which included a two-year visiting scientist appointment studying bioinformatics approaches to analyzing circadian rhythm at Michigan State University. He joined Dr. Makedonka Mitreva’s lab in the McDonnell Genome Institute (MGI) as a postdoctoral research associate in 2012, and as a staff scientist in 2014.

Dr. Rosa’s research is focused on the bioinformatic analysis of high-throughput omics datasets. Since joining the MGI, he has primarily focused on studying parasitic helminths, which infect almost a third of the world’s population (primarily in tropical regions) and cause widespread disease, disability and even death. Because parasitic helminths span a wide evolutionary distance and are difficult to maintain in a laboratory setting, there is much progress to be made in developing computational resources to understand their biology and work towards knowledge-based, targeted control strategies.

Towards this goal, Dr. Rosa has been involved in numerous studies and collaborative efforts. He was a key contributor to the International Helminth Genomes Consortium, which produced a comparative analysis of 80 parasitic helminth genomes. His work has also included studying the nematode intestine (which is a promising intervention target), including identifying parasite-specific intestinal gene families spanning the phylum, identifying tissue-specific gene expression in the large roundworm Ascaris suum, and delineating proteins and peptidases in various compartments of the A. suum intestine. His multi-omics helminth studies also include the identification of serodiagnostic antigens in the filarial nematode Onchocerca volvulus, future intervention targets in the lungworm Dictyocaulus viviparus, and excreted/secreted (E/S) proteins in the whipworm Trichuris suis (to analyze host-parasite interactions). His current projects focus on host responses to helminth infection, and include a study of geographically-conserved helminth-associated human gut microbiome members and functions. He has also begun working on a comprehensive omics analysis to prioritize helminth targets that activate immunity in hosts, towards a long-term goal of developing vaccinations to prevent infection.

In addition to his parasitic helminth work, Dr. Rosa is involved in collaborative projects studying conserved host immune responses to tuberculosis (spanning humans, macaques and mice), human immune responses to malaria before and after treatment, and strain differences during HIV infection.

Throughout his research, he continues to have an interest in the computational identification of novel targets and approaches for parasitic helminth control, and in applying high-throughput omics analysis to study other infectious diseases (and host responses) to produce testable biological hypotheses.