2023 Women In Medicine and Science Awardee
Anita Koshy obtained her medical degree from Duke University, where she was an HHMI Medical Student Fellow for 2 years. After obtaining her MD, she did clinical training in Neurology and Infectious Disease, before joining the lab of John Boothroyd at Stanford University for her postdoctoral training. In the Boothroyd lab, she established an in vivo system for permanently marking and tracking host cells that have interacted with parasite Toxoplasma gondii.
Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite that is found world-wide and is able to infect most warm blooded animals (from birds to humans). In humans and rodents, Toxoplasma naturally establishes a life-long, asymptomatic infection of the brain. Unfortunately, in those with limited immune response (e.g. fetus, organ transplant patients), this tropism for the brain can lead to devastating effects including seizures, blindness, and death. Thus, our goal is to understand the brain-Toxoplasma interaction at the cellular and molecular level so that we can i) develop curative treatment for symptomatic toxoplasmosis and ii) identify new mechanisms for modulating brain immune responses, which are now thought to play a role in neurologic diseases ranging from Multiple Sclerosis to Alzheimer’s disease.