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After working for the Agricultural Research Service to develop diagnostic probes for virally infected germplasm imported into the USA, Dr. Stephanie Tucker trained at the Henry Jackson Foundation in Bethesda, Maryland, where she worked on mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis of enteric bacterial pathogens. Dr. Tucker went on to graduate from Stony Brook University in New York, where she earned her doctoral degree for the identification and characterization of the type three secretion system (TTSS) of Salmonella typhimurium. Her findings suggested that the TTSS was not unique to Shigella flexneri as was previously thought and opened the door to discovering the prevalence of the TTSS as a wide-spread bacterial toxin delivery system.
Dr. Tucker continued her work on pathogenic mechanisms at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she used pioneering microscopy methods developed by the imaging core and that were novel at the time to demonstrate the intracellular mechanisms of Cryptococcus neoformans survival in host macrophages, as well as the effects of opsonin-driven macrophage cell division. During this time, she was introduced to lipids as pathogenic mediators in a collaborative study of the role of inositol-phosphoryl ceramide synthase 1 (IPC1) in pathogenesis of this opportunistic fungal pathogen. Her work included characterization of fungal exosomes, during which she discovered heat shock proteins, histones, and GAPDH. These latter studies led her to work on regulated exocytic mechanisms, which resulted in the demonstration that the phosphoglucomutase homolog, parafusin (PFUS), as well as GAPDH, is an intrinsic component of the exocytic scaffold independent of glycolytic function.
Upon joining the Department of Pathology at Wayne State University, and spurred by the teachings of Jules M. Elias, Ph.D., Dr. Tucker applied her background in modeling pathogen-host interactions to the study of pathogenic mechanisms of cancer. Her studies included topics such as integrin-mediated signaling at the interface with lipoxygenases and lipid-mediated G protein-coupled receptor signaling, among others. After participating in the competitive NCI imaging camp, she has continued to pursue unique imaging modalities, including Raman spectral profiling of cancer responses to pro- and anti-tumor lipid treatments.
Dr. Tucker is a founding member of Lipids@Wayne and serves on the organizing committee for the associated annual symposium. She is co-director of a cancer concepts course and has developed projects for training numerous graduate and medical students, as well as undergraduate students. Dr. Tucker has published in numerous prestigious journals and is frequently an invited reviewer.