Mary K. Estes

Baylor College of Medicine


Election Year: 2007
Primary Section: 44, Microbial Biology
Secondary Section: 43, Immunology and Inflammation
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

As a molecular virologist with an interest in digestive diseases, I use viruses that infect gastrointestinal cells to understand viral and host factors that affect pathogenesis. I have studied two viruses: rotaviruses, the major cause of diarrhea in children and animals worldwide, and noroviruses that are responsible for almost all outbreaks of nonbacterial gastroenteritis and important causes of disease in humans and animals of all age groups. I have discovered a new mechanism of pathogenesis for rotaviruses involving a novel enterotoxin that affects cellular calcium homeostasis and regulates viral replication. In addition, susceptibility to Norwalk virus infection has been found to be related to an individual's genetically determined histoblood group antigens. Finally, I have used recombinant virus-like particles as probes of virus structure and function and as candidate vaccines for both viruses.

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