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Bangs Appointed Chair of Microbiology and Immunology

Jay bangs

James “Jay” Bangs, PhD

Published August 31, 2012

James “Jay” D. Bangs, PhD, an expert on sleeping sickness, has been named the Grant T. Fisher Professor and chair of the UB Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Bangs’ research focuses on the basic cell biology of African trypanosomes, the causative agent of sleeping sickness in humans.

Bangs is a professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School.

He also serves as a faculty member and trainer for the school’s microbiological doctoral training program and a member of the Center for Research and Training in Parasitic Diseases.

He will join UB in January.

Investigating Protozoa Implicated in Sleeping Sickness

Bangs’ main research interest focuses on African trypanosomes, the causative agent of sleeping sickness in humans, a re-emerging fatal disease throughout sub-Saharan Africa that is transmitted by the tsetse fly.

Bangs investigates the trypanosomes’ basic cell biology—specifically, intracellular trafficking of lysosomal and cell surface proteins as key aspects of the host-parasite relationship.

His studies concentrate on four distinct areas:

  • glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-dependent targeting of surface coat proteins
  • the machinery of secretory trafficking
  • stage-specific lysosomal biogenesis and proteomics
  • the role of sphingolipids in secretory transport

Bangs’ findings offer the potential for trypanosome-specific drug development; his long-term goal is to define aspects of trypanosomal secretory processes that may provide novel avenues to chemotherapeutic intervention.

His research is funded by two RO1 grants and an R-21 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Joined Wisconsin-Madison Faculty in ’93

A native of Vineyard Haven, Mass., Bangs received his undergraduate degree in biology from Bates College in Maine. He received his PhD in biochemical, cellular and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

He completed his postdoctoral training in cell biology at Yale University School of Medicine and in microbiology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Bangs joined Wisconsin’s faculty as an assistant professor in 1993.

Editorial Board Member of Leading Journals in Field

Bangs lectures nationally and internationally and serves on the editorial boards of Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology and Eukaryotic Cell.

At UB he will succeed J. Iain Hay, chair of microbiology and immunology for 20 years.