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Salazar Laboratory

Lab Members

Juan C. Salazar, M.D., M.P.H.
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Juan C. Salazar, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Salazar is associate professor in pediatrics at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and director of the Pediatric and Youth HIV Program at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Dr. Salazar joined the full time faculty at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Pediatrics in November of 1998. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, the HIV Medical Association and the Hartford and Connecticut State Medical Societies.

Dr. Salazar graduated from Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia in 1986. He completed his residency in pediatrics at the University of Connecticut in 1992 and a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1995. He obtained a Masters Degree in public health/epidemiology from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in 1995. Dr. Salazar is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases and is a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Salazar joined the Department of Pediatrics at UConn Health in 1998. He obtained a career mentor K-23 award in 2002, with Dr. Radolf as his primary mentor.

Dr. Salazar’s basic translational research interest includes the analysis of the immunologic interactions between syphilis and HIV and the pathogenesis of spirochetal diseases including Lyme disease. Dr. Salazar is NIH funded to (1) conduct a translational study of syphilis in Colombia and (2) to assess the role of the innate immune responses in humans to Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. He has been the principal investigator for a variety of pharmaceutical industry sponsored clinical trials, including childhood vaccines and antibiotics. He has authored and co-authored over 60 papers and book chapters.

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Sarah Benjamin

Sarah Benjamin, Graduate Student

Sarah graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in 2012, and a Master of Science in 2013. Both degrees are in biochemistry, and her Masters thesis focused on virology and vaccine development through genetic modification. Before coming to UConn Health, she spent three years as a research assistant at Inviragen, Inc. (now part of Takeda Vaccines) working with dengue virus. Her doctoral thesis research focuses on identifying signaling pathways emitted from Bb-containing phagosomes in macrophages, and how this signaling contributes to the innate immune response and facilitates bacteria recognition and clearance.

Kelly L. Hawley, Ph.D.

Kelly L. Hawley, Ph.D.

Kelly L. Hawley obtained her B.S. degree in veterinary and animal sciences from the University of Massachusetts in 2009. In September of 2012, she received her Ph.D. degree in animal biotechnology and biomedical sciences from the University of Massachusetts. Her dissertation research investigated the molecular mechanisms that regulate Complement Receptor 3-mediated phagocytosis of B. burgdorferi. She is the recipient of the Snoeyenboes Research Award. Her postdoctoral research focuses on macrophage-T. pallidum interactions ex vivo to understand the paradox of human syphilis.

Carson Karanian

Carson Karanian

Ms. Karanian obtained a bachelor's degree in general science with an environmental studies track in 1995 from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She previously worked as a laboratory assistant at Pfizer in New London, Connecticut. Since 2003, she has worked as a research assistant II/lab manager in the Spirochete Research Laboratories. She is an expert in T. pallidium rabbit passaging, Borrelia burgdorferi culture, human and murine flow cytometry, epifluorescent and confocal microscopy, human monocyte and murine macrophage ex vivostimulation techniques and a variety of molecular techniques.