Balamuthia mandrillaris is one of the causes of granulomatous amebic encephalitis (GAE), a rare but usually fatal infection of the brain and spinal cord.
It is believed to enter the body when soil containing Balamuthia encounters skin wounds and cuts, or when dust containing Balamuthia is inhaled or gets in the mouth. The Balamuthia amoebas can then travel to the brain through the blood stream and cause GAE. GAE is very rare and usually fatal.
More than 200 cases of Balamuthia infection have been diagnosed worldwide, with at least 70 cases reported in the United States.
CERID’s research focuses on structural genomic studies through the Van Voorhis’ lab’s affiliated project, the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID) and drug design through collaboration with the Kyle lab at University of Georgia (UGA).