Research/Areas of Interest: Dr. Genco's studies on chronic inflammation focus on the host adapted pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis which has been linked to development of systemic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Her laboratory has defined the role of specific innate immune signaling pathways in immune cells that contribute collectively to pathogen-induced chronic inflammation. Using defined animal models of inflammation, they are characterizing the roles of innate immune pathways in inflammatory processes in vivo. Her translational work has encompassed clinical studies evaluating immunological and microbiological responses following acute inflammatory diseases induced by sexually transmitted infections including gonorrhea. Gonorrhea caused by the Gram-negative organism Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a disease of worldwide prevalence and the continued persistence and increased N. gonorrhoeae resistance to third generation cephalosporins is a warning for the development and spread of untreatable gonorrhea. A vaccine against gonorrhea is not yet available, despite this clear need. Barriers to its development include the presence of highly variable surface antigens that lead to non-specific and often insufficient immunity as well as the lack of our understanding of bacterial antigens expressed during human mucosal disease. The long-term goal of Dr. Genco's work is to develop a vaccine to treat sexually transmitted infections with emphasis on prevention of secondary complications in women.
- Doctor of Philosophy, University of Rochester, USA, 1987
- Master of Science, University of Rochester, USA, 1984
- Bachelor of Science, SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia, USA, 1981