Janelle Ayres, Salk Institute, USA
Janelle Ayres

Janelle Ayres received her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. She did her PhD training at Stanford University School of Medicine in the laboratory of David Schneider and her postdoctoral studies with Russell Vance at UC Berkeley. She joined the faculty of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies as an Assistant Professor in the Nomis Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis in 2013 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017. Traditionally, host-microbe interactions are thought of in terms of conflict. Dr. Ayres’ research approaches these interactions from a different perspective and aims to understand evolved co-operative defenses that promote host health while having a neutral to positive impact on microbial fitness. She discovered that in addition to resistance mechanisms, animals rely on disease tolerance mechanisms that are essential for survival of microbial interactions and promote host health without killing the pathogen. More recently, her lab has shown that microbes (both benign and pathogenic) have evolved ways to promote host health as a means to promote their own fitness. Her program continues to elucidate co-operative defense mechanisms and understand how these defenses affect host-microbe co-evolution and the evolution of virulence. Her ultimate goal is to develop therapies that promote co-operative defenses during infection to combat the global crisis of antimicrobial resistance.She is the recipient of several awards including Searle Scholar Award, the DARPA Young Faculty Award, Ray Thomas Edwards New Investigator Award and a Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Senior Research Award.

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