Dr. Carolyn Coyne’s research program focuses on the mechanisms by which cellular barriers restrict microbial infections and the strategies that microbes have evolved to penetrate these barriers. She is a recognized leader in the field of virus infections of epithelial cells, innate immune signaling, and host-pathogen interactions at the maternal-fetal interface. Dr. Coyne’s work is multidisciplinary and encompasses cell biology, tissue engineering, immunology, and microbiology to dissect the complex dialogue that occurs between virus and host during infection.
A primary focus of Dr. Coyne’s laboratory is on the human placenta, and her work in this area has established a new and important paradigm – that in addition to its role as a physical barrier, the placenta is a dynamic chemical barrier that has evolved efficient mechanisms to suppress viral infections at the maternal-fetal interface. In addition to her work on the placenta, her studies identifying mechanisms by which viruses bypass other cellular barriers have established new models of how viruses cross the intestinal and blood-brain barriers and have influenced multiple fields of research.