The overall interest of the Doran Lab is the study of host - pathogen interactions in the central nervous system and the female reproductive tract. Our studies focus on major human pathogens including Streptococcus agalactiae (also known as Group B Streptococcus, GBS), a leading cause of invasive disease in newborns and certain adult populations including pregnant women. We seek to elucidate the mechanisms by which GBS colonizes the vaginal tract during pregnancy and penetrates the blood-brain barrier in the newborn to cause meningitis, as well as characterize host response to infection and colonization. We use a variety of molecular genetic approaches as well as cell based and animal models to identify bacterial virulence determinants and host factors which contribute to disease progression. A better understanding of these interactions is required in order to develop new therapeutic approaches to prevent GBS maternal colonization and neonatal disease.