College of Natural and Social Sciences
Biological Sciences, Department of
Office: ASCL 355
Courses taught: MICR 201 (Microbiology for Health Related Sciences); MICR 300 (formerly MICR 200AB, General Microbiology); MICR 301 (General Medical Microbiology, Lab); MICR 302 (Pathogenic Bacteriology, Lab); MICR 304 (Immunology & Serology); MICR 450 (Innate Immunity); MICR 454L (Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases); BIOL 520 (Advanced Immunology). Teaching goals: To introduce concepts and provide fact knowledge; to enhance critical thinking; to demonstrate how current textbook knowledge is derived from research; to increase students' skills to apply knowledge gained from related course work; to promote peer interaction; to ignite passion for microbiology and immunology; to achieve that students exit class with a knowledge lasting beyond the finals.
Infectious diseases continue to be the leading causes of illness and death. Not only do new pathogens emerge, but well established pathogens increasingly develop antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, though progress has been made in elucidating host pathogen interaction, it is still unclear why opportunistic pathogens can establish themselves in susceptible hosts in the first place, e.g. Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis patients. Our research focuses on mucosal innate immunity, specifically, antimicrobial effector molecules that directly engage with pathogens and cause their death. The majority of our previous work has targeted the activity and regulation of the antimicrobial peptide human defensin 5. Recently, we expanded our interest to host-derived antimicrobial lipids (fats). We hypothesize that antimicrobial lipids are regulated like antimicrobial peptides by proinflammatory cytokines and microbial products signaling through receptors that recognize conserved microbial products such as toll-like receptors (TLRs) and NOD-like receptors. We strive to further improve our understanding of host susceptibility to infectious diseases (a lack of antimicrobial effector molecule production) and bacterial pathogenesis (inactivation of antimicrobial effector molecules by the pathogen) which may lead to novel therapy, prevention, and diagnosis of infectious diseases. Additional side projects have recently evolved. We are assessing whether selected antimicrobial lipids might have an anticancer effect. It has been shown for some antibiotics that they have an anticancer effect, for example doxyrubicin. Furthermore, we are exploring whether exercise might increase the output of antimicrobial lipids. Our methodology includes molecular genetics, biochemical, and functional assays allowing us to study gene expression, characterize protein and lipid production, and dissect their biological function. Undergraduate and graduate students are essential to our work. During the past 8 years at CSULA over 35 undergraduate students and over 15 graduate student have contributed to the Porter Lab research operation resulting in over 50 poster presentations and 6 publications (out of 15 publications authored and co-authored by Dr. Porter since 2001) with 17 student authors. Our current and past collaborators include (in alphabetical order of the institution) Karl Lohner, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz; Grady Hanrahan, California Lutheran University; Susan Kane, City of Hope, Duarte, CA; Krishna Foster and Feimeng Zhou, CSULA; Alison J. Quayle, Louisiana State University New Orleans; Nita Salzman, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Gary Fujii, Molecular Express, Inc; Teresa Chang , Mount Sinai, New York; Sabine Nuding and Jan Wehkamp, Robert Bosch Institute, Stuttgart, Germany; Jivianne Lee, Southern California Sinus Institute; Charles L. Bevins, UC Davis; Catherine F. Clarke, Kym Faull, Tomas Ganz, Beth Marbois, and Ami Oren, UCLA; Paul McCray and Jennifer Bartlett, University of Iowa, Iowa City.
MD Medicine 1989
This document was last updated on 3/27/09