Dr. Brayton has earned international recognition for work on the transmission biology ofAnaplasma marginale, the most prevalent tick-borne pathogen of cattle worldwide with the highest impact in tropical and subtropical countries. Dr. Brayton's completion of the genome sequence of A. marginale, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides the cornerstone for new research opportunities.
Her research is primarily in:
- The genome sequence, which helps to clarify the gene conversion mechanism (how DNA sequence information is transferred from one part of the DNA helix to alter another part) of two surface proteins ofA. marginale.
- Studying the role of these genes in enabling A. marginale to evade the immune response and persist throughout the life of the vertebrate host.
Dr. Brayton is working to ascribe function to genes that were identified through genome sequencing but were of unknown function. For example, she has identified effector molecules that are translocated by the type IV secretion system. These effector proteins are injected into the host cell and are key mediators of infection and persistence. In addition, she has employed comparative genomic strategies to identify genes involved in the tick transmission of A. marginale.
Dr. Brayton's work has been instrumental in progress towards vaccine development and there is now a short list of vaccine candidates being tested for their ability to protect against anaplasmosis.
Dr. Brayton is an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology and the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health.