Technology International Incorporated 0f Virginia
Dr. John R. Dankert

The research interests of Dr. Dankert include: Immunology and the Immunochemistry of the Complement System; Membrane Biology and Membrane-Active Proteins; Comparative Immunobiology; Ion-Exchange Chromatography; Protein Biochemistry and Biophysics; Microbial Inhibitors; Microbiology.

Dr. Dankert's research concerns the development of our understanding of basic biochemical processes of the immune system. One component of mammalian immunity that provides host defense is the complement system. These proteins are found in plasma and they are very effective in killing and eliminating invading bacteria and other potential pathogens. However, some bacteria are resistant to this system and pose a major health threat, especially to immuno-compromised individuals. In order to address this, we are studying the basic biochemical mechanisms that permit complement system proteins to interact with and bring about the destruction of complement-sensitive bacteria. Knowledge of the process of effective complement killing of bacteria then allow us to study how complement-resistant bacteria escape destruction. Students in the lab will perform a variety of biochemical and biophysical techniques associated with the molecules of the immune system (protein isolation, purification, and biochemistry); the structure and components of bacteria (microbiological techniques, microbial physiology and metabolism); and learn methods to study the interaction of molecules of the immune system with the bacterial cell (biophysical techniques, assays of bacterial metabolism, immunoassays) and artificial targets (liposome formation, reconstitution of complement and bacterial systems). It is hoped that the student will then be able to address questions in this field, and also be able to apply these techniques to any system of study.

In conjunction with the above studies, the host-defense systems of other species (non-mammalian) will be examined. This would provide another possible subject for students, using the techniques described above.

Dr. Dankert holds Ph.D., Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, (Biological Sciences) and a B.S., Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, (Zoology). His professional experience includes: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, LA; Assistant Professor, Dept. of Comparative and Experimental Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; Assistant research Scientist, Dept. of Comparative and Experimental Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; Assistant in Pathology, Dept. of Comparative and Experimental Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and Post Doctoral Associate, Dept. of Comparative and Experimental Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.