Associate Investigator

Raffi Aroian, PhD

Professor of Biological Sciences

The Aroian Laboratory researches the basic biology of infectious diseases using as models the free-living nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, and the mouse parasitic nematode, Heligmosomoides polygyrus bakeri.  A major focus examines pore-forming toxins (or PFTs), which are the most common toxin made by pathogenic bacteria.  The laboratory studies a molecular genetic model of PFT pathogenesis, namely the interaction of C. elegans with the PFTs made by Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). We are discovering the intracellular pathways that enable C. elegans cells to counteract intoxication by PFTs, how these pathways are interconnected, and their protective functions during PFT attack.  The laboratory is also exploring new therapies for soil-transmitted helminths (STH), including hookworm, whipworm, and Ascaris, which are the most common infections in humans, affecting in excess of 2 billion.  The laboratory has found that Crystal (Cry) proteins made by Bt are effective anthelmintics, and can cure two different worm infections in two different rodents. We are currently using the mouse parasite H. polygyrus to study basic and applied research questions of how optimize Cry protein anthelmintic therapies and how to bring Cry proteins to human clinical trial.

Primary II&I Focus Area:  Global Infectious Diseases
Secondary II&I Focus Area:  Microbe-Host Interactions

Laboratory Website    
Articles on PubMed


Raffi Aroian, PhD

Office: (858) 822-1396
Lab: (858) 822-1397
FAX: (858) 822-0808
UCSD Mailcode: 0322


M.I.T. (B.Sc.)
CalTech (PhD)
U.C. San Francisco

Aroian II&I

A putative network of C. elegans genes involved in resistance to pore-forming toxins as identified by RNA interference