Cowan, Maureen (Harris)
Microglia are the resident immune cells of the brain. Much has been explored about microglial roles during both neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration. In contrast, surprisingly little is known about how these immune cells provide protection against pathogens that invade the immune-privileged brain. My research focuses on understanding how microglial signaling through the transcription factor, STAT1, controls infection with the neurotropic parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. I am also interested in how brain-resident microglia sense and respond to perturbations in the brain across a wide range of pathological conditions, and how their effector functions differ from those of blood-derived macrophages that infiltrate the brain during neuroinflammatory states.