The Gestal Lab aims to understand how pathogens manipulate host immune responses in order to increase survival, persistence, and transmission. We focus on respiratory diseases using Bordetella spp. (causative agent of pertussis or whooping cough) as a model. Whooping cough or pertussis is a respiratory disease increasingly emerging despite a vaccine being available. Bordetella spp. are highly adapted pathogens that can cause disease exclusively in humans (B. pertussis) or in a broad range of mammals (B. bronchiseptica) and the disease can vary from acute to chronic. In our lab, we want to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms that Bordetella spp. utilize to manipulate, suppress, escape, and evade host immune response.