Biography

Dr. Dawn Wetzel is an early-career physician-scientist who cares for children with infectious diseases and conducts basic and translational research in medically relevant parasitic diseases. She has been performing biological research throughout her undergraduate and medical training. She earned a Ph.D. in Microbiology by demonstrating that actin polymerization and calcium secretion regulate a unique form of motility and cell invasion by the Apicomplexa phylum of parasites. When she became a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellow, she began to characterize the molecular mechanisms that regulate Leishmania uptake by macrophages. Her work demonstrated that preventing Leishmania entry into macrophages through genetic or chemical inhibition of the Abl family kinases decreases disease manifestations in the mouse model of leishmaniasis. This work resulted in invitations to speak at national meetings, publications, and multiple competitive grants, including a Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (K08) from the NIH.

Dr. Wetzel is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology at UT Southwestern. Her research career will focus on elucidating the molecular pathogenesis of leishmaniasis, which may lead to novel therapies to prevent infection with this important pathogen. She will also continue her clinical work in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and have a particular interest in patients with parasitic infections.

Research Interest

  • Cellular and molecular pathogenesis of leishmaniasis and other parasitic infections
  • Development of novel antiparasitics
  • Host-pathogen interactions

Publications

Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

The Abl and Arg kinases mediate distinct modes of phagocytosis and are required for maximal Leishmania infection.

Wetzel DM, McMahon-Pratt D, Koleske AJ Mol. Cell. Biol. 2012 Aug 32 15 3176-86

Staphylococcus aureus activates type I IFN signaling in mice and humans through the Xr repeated sequences of protein A.

Martin FJ, Gomez MI, Wetzel DM, Memmi G, O'Seaghdha M, Soong G, Schindler C, Prince A J. Clin. Invest. 2009 Jul 119 7 1931-9

Gliding motility leads to active cellular invasion by Cryptosporidium parvum sporozoites.

Wetzel DM, Schmidt J, Kuhlenschmidt MS, Dubey JP, Sibley LD Infect. Immun. 2005 Sep 73 9 5379-87

Evidence that the cADPR signalling pathway controls calcium-mediated microneme secretion in Toxoplasma gondii.

Chini EN, Nagamune K, Wetzel DM, Sibley LD Biochem. J. 2005 Jul 389 Pt 2 269-77

Calcium-mediated protein secretion potentiates motility in Toxoplasma gondii.

Wetzel DM, Chen LA, Ruiz FA, Moreno SN, Sibley LD J. Cell. Sci. 2004 Nov 117 Pt 24 5739-48

Actin filament polymerization regulates gliding motility by apicomplexan parasites.

Wetzel DM, Håkansson S, Hu K, Roos D, Sibley LD Mol. Biol. Cell 2003 Feb 14 2 396-406

Role of dynactin in endocytic traffic: effects of dynamitin overexpression and colocalization with CLIP-170.

Valetti C, Wetzel DM, Schrader M, Hasbani MJ, Gill SR, Kreis TE, Schroer TA Mol. Biol. Cell 1999 Dec 10 12 4107-20

Honors & Awards

  • Young Physician-Scientist Award
    American Society of Clinical Investigation (2013)
  • IDSA Fellow's Research Award and Travel Grant
    Top abstracts by infectious disease fellows-in-training - Infectious Diseases Society of America (2010)
  • Alexander Berg Prize
    Graduating medical student presenting the best research in molecular microbiology - Washington University School of Medicine (2005)
  • William A. McElroy Award for Undergraduate Research in Biology
    Graduating student with th emost promise in biological research - Johns Hopkins University (1998)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Eastern Society for Pediatric Research (2013)
  • American Medical Association (2009)
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America (2009)
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society of America (2009)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (2005)