Adaptive Immunology of Tropical Diseases
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Medicine; Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine
Research Interests: Neglected tropical pathogens, adaptive immunity, malaria, Leptospirosis, melioidosis, Nontuberculous mycobacteria
“In the end, our ultimate goal should be to improve individual lives through medicine and the human condition through research.”
–Anthony P. Cannella
Dr. Anthony P. Cannella can be described as a triple threat. He serves as an attending physician, researcher and professor at the University of Florida. Along with his research role at the Emerging Pathogens Institute, Dr. Cannella who is an assistant professor of Medicine for the Division of Infectious Diseases & Global Medicine, Department of Medicine, a courtesy assistant professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and an attending physician and epidemiologist at UF Health Hospital within the College of Medicine.
“Being a physician-scientist affords me the ability to best know about your patients and their conditions, and to ultimately explore the science of infectious agents,” Cannella said. “I also love to teach. I love to give back and to inspire knowledge, and more than knowledge, wisdom.”
During his residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Cannella became the first recipient of the TIME-R Award, a program that allowed his residency to include research opportunities in investigational immunological techniques. There he assisted in research for early HIV vaccines. After Dr. Cannella completed his residency at the UAB, he explored his passion of infectious diseases as a fellow at the University of California, San Diego. In collaboration with the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology, he discovered the first T cell epitopes for Brucella mellitensis, which he says is one of the coolest research discoveries he has made in his career.
Currently, Cannella is studying immunology, specifically the immunology of neglected diseases or as he puts it, ‘diseases that affect people who live in poverty’. His main focus is on the adaptive immunologic responses of patients who suffer from Plasmodium falciparum malaria, who are symptomatic or asymptomatic. His current projects revolve around elucidating the mechanisms of how some individuals respond to an infection, demonstrated by profiling these individuals’ both T helper cell responses (Th1/Th2/Th17/Threg) and Tc/NKT cell responses, as well as differentiating chemokine/cytokine responses. Dr. Cannella believes that these fundamental immune differences between asymptomatic patients and symptomatic patients can hold the key to understanding how certain pathogens can not only evade the immune system, but also inducing a response, which could impede immune control of the organism.
His secondary research focuses on the epidemiology of leptospirosis (a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals and is transmitted through contaminated fresh water or soil) through the use of novel molecular assays. Lastly, he is also interested in the epidemiology and immunopathogensis of Burkholderia pseudomallei and non-tuberculous Mycobacteria.
When he is not in a classroom, at UF Health, or in a lab, you can find Dr. Cannella practicing his favorite pastime, which is cooking Italian and Spanish food.