Research Interests

The Laboratory of Human Endosymbiont Medicine, led by Dr. Neal Epstein, focuses on the further analysis of a novel life form that has been identified by our laboratory to exist within a subset of most all nucleated human cells, forming isolated foci in most tissues. This is distinct from the microbiome as presently studied, which exists on the surfaces of cells, on the skin, and in the gut lumen. The endosymbiont's nucleic acid sequence, physiology, and EM defined morphology show it to be unique with no homologues in GenBank or the literature. A unique antibody shows it is present in the human egg allowing the vertical transmission from mother to progeny as is standard for many endosymbionts in Arthropoda. Facultative free living, it is motile and can be tagged with a fluorescent antibody allowing visualization of it entering human cells in primary culture. The laboratory focuses on its further characterization and its role in human health and disease.