Dr. Bouwer received his B.S. degree in Microbiology from Arizona State University, MS degree in Bacteriology and Public Health and PhD degree in Immunology from Washington State University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Portland VAMC. His laboratory is involved in understanding the immune response to intracellular pathogens, with a focus on Listeria monocytogenes. As a food borne pathogen, L. monocytogenes is of particular interest because of its bioterror potential. In collaboration with Darren Higgins, PhD, from Harvard Medical School, a novel vaccine against L. monocytogenes was assessed that was unique in its approach. For these studies, a strain of L. monocytogenes that was engineered to retain key features of pathogenesis yet be avirulent was successfully used to stimulate protective antilisterial immunity. Whether such an approach can be used for other potential bioterror weapons is under consideration. Studies are also ongoing that take advantage of the immunostimulatory properties of L. mononcytogenes for the development of recombinant cancer vaccines. For these studies, strains of L. monocytogenes have been genetically engineered to express tumor cell proteins that have been shown to be targets of anti-tumor immune responses. Important findings from these studies include that recombinant L. monocytogenes cancer vaccines are therapeutic, they remain effective after initiation of antibiotic treatment as early as 24 hours after vaccine delivery to eradicate the infection, and previous immunity to L. monocytogenes does not diminish stimulation of anti-tumor immunity.