Research Projects

The Study of Host-Pathogen Interactions in Leprosy

The pathogen Mycobacterium leprae is responsible for ~200,000 new cases of leprosy annually. The Belisle laboratory is studying how the metabolism of this obligate intracellular pathogen and the human host are entwined and drive the neuropathology of leprosy.  The laboratory also studies how M. leprae products stimulate immune responses.

Collaborating Laboratories

Dr. Robert L. Modlin, University of California Los Angeles
Drs. Cristina Pessolani, Marcia Berrêdo-Pinho and Geraldo M Pereira, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brazil

Current Funding

  • The Role of Schwann Cell Lipid Droplets in Neuropathology of Leprosy, PI – Belisle, NIH R01 AI141526
  • CD1-Restricted T-Cell Responses in Skin, PI -Modlin, Subcontract with UCLA for NIH R01 AR040312
  • The Role of Tregs and Lipid Mediators in the Progression from Infection to Disease in Leprosy, PI- Pessolani, Subcontract with Fiocruz for NIH R01 AI129835

Metabolic Responses to Tuberculosis and Tuberculosis Treatment

Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections are responsible for one of the globe’s most common infectious diseases, tuberculosis.  Through the application of metabolomics and other research tools the Belisle laboratory is studying the metabolic response in tuberculosis to develop prognostic markers of disease progression and treatment response, and to further the understanding this pathogens success.


Dr. Gerhard Walzl, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Dr. Mark Hatherill, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Dr. Brian C. VanderVen, Cornell University

Current Funding

  • Biology and Biosignatures of Anti-Tuberculosis Treatment Response, PI – Belisle, NIH U01 AI115619
  • Evaluation of New Diagnostics for Incident, Active and Recurrent TB(ENDx-Tb), PI – Walzl Subcontract with Stellenbosch University for NIH U01 AI152075

Host Metabolic Biosignatures for the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Lyme Disease

Dr. Belisle’s laboratory is investigating the use of metabolomics and host metabolic biosignatures to develop novel diagnostics and prognostics tools for Lyme disease.  Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States.  Diagnosis of early LD remains difficult and delay in treatment can result in Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.


Dr. Gary Wormser, New York Medical College
Dr. Lise Nigrovic, Boston Children’s Hospital
Dr. Aris Garro, Brown University
Drs. John L. Aucott and Mark L. Soloski, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Current Funding

  • Host Metabolic Biosignatures for the Diagnosis of Lyme Disease, PI – Belisle, NIH R01 AI141656
  • Metabolic Biosignatures of Lyme Disease in Human Urine, PI – Belisle, DoD W81XWH1810458

The Center for Metabolism of Infectious Diseases

Along with Dr. Rushika Perera, Dr. Belisle is co-director of the Center for Metabolism of Infectious Diseases. The center brings together the expertise of over 15 CSU research laboratories to enable development of new treatments, preventions and diagnostics for infectious diseases by resolving host-vector-pathogen-environment interactions at a metabolic level.