r. Brian Rafferty earned his B.S. and PhD from SUNY Binghamton in Cell and Molecular Biology. His doctoral research focused on the regulation of pro-inflammatory responses in intestinal cells by modifying the cytoskeleton. After completing his PhD work, Dr. Rafferty was a post-doctoral research fellow at Columbia University in the School of Dental Medicine. There he examined oral bacteria and their potential role in cardiovascular diseases, especially those in which arterial plaques are involved. As an Adjunct Assistant Professor at John Jay, Dr. Rafferty collaborated with Dr. Nathan Lents in studying the role of the MZF-1 transcription factor in regulating growth factor expression in hematopoietic cells.
My current research focuses on how to regulate the interactions between oral epithelial cells (keratinocytes) and a key bacteria in the development of periodontal disease and gingivitis, Porphyromonas gingivalis. This bacteria’s mechanism of action is to invade oral epithelial cells and subsequently modify the host cell response to promote destruction of the tissue. This project has two avenues: 1. Determine if modifications to the host cytoskeleton will reduce the invasion and pro-destructive nature of the bacteria and 2. Examine the transcriptome (mRNA) changes in both the bacteria and host cell during their interactions with each other. My research is currently being funded through the BMCC Presidential Scholars and a PSC-CUNY grant.