My laboratory is focused on understanding specific molecular interactions between host and pathogen, in particular between complement Factor H and Neisserial surface proteins. These investigations are directly applicable for developing improved vaccines for prevention of disease caused by the bacteria from the genus Neisseria. These microbes colonize mucous membranes, which can lead to invasive infections including sepsis, meningitis, urethritis and other infections. Our research includes genetic, biochemical and immunological studies of Neisserial surface antigens, including meningococcal Factor H binding protein and Neisserial surface protein A. These proteins are important for virulence because they recruit complement Factor H to the bacterial surface, which enables the bacteria to evade host immunity. Our studies are expected to elucidate mechanisms of pathogenesis and protective antibody function and to lead to next-generation Neisserial vaccines.