Research Scientist, Bacteriology Program
Southern Research Institute
2000 Ninth Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35205
Dr. Asare obtained a Ph.D. in Microbial Pathogenesis in 2006 from the University of Louisville in Kentucky and also holds a B.S. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ghana in Legon. He received the International Student Exchange Scholarship from the University of Ghana in 2000 to study and conduct research at the University of Kentucky, where he subsequently completed a post-baccalaureate program in Chemistry. Dr. Asare joined Southern Research in 2011, where he is currently a Research Scientist in the Bacteriology Program. His primary research interest is to develop therapeutic intervention or a vaccination for tularemia by understanding the molecular bases of the type VI secretion systems utilized by the Francisella tularensis bacterium to subvert the host defense mechanism.
There is no vaccine against Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, and very limited therapeutic intervention to treat the disease. During infection, the bacterium invades and replicates within macrophages, manipulating and exploiting the host cell biology in order to create a replicative niche necessary for growth and survival. After brief residency in the phagosome, the bacterium escapes into the host cell cytosol, where it replicates. This is mediated in part by effectors secreted by a type IV secretion system. The main goal of Dr. Asare's research is to understand the molecular basis of this exploitation in order to develop therapeutic intervention or a vaccination for tularemia.
Dr. Asare's research is focused on elucidating the contribution of Francisella type VI secretion effectors to phagosome biogenesis, escape mechanism, and cytosolic replication within host cells. He has successfully identified and characterized genes involved in intracellular replication and escape of Francisella in macrophages and S2 cells. Many of the gene products are designated as either hypothetical proteins or proteins of unknown function. He is currently investigating the relationship between these genes and the type VI secretion system. He is also investigating the role of these proteins in the escape and intracellular replication of Francisella in human macrophages.
Two of the mutant strains that Dr. Asare has identified to be defective for growth in macrophages and S2 cells have the mutation in a protein with a eukaryotic CaaX motif. He is currently engaged in the identification and characterization of CaaX motif proteins of Francisella tularensis.