Principal InvestigatorJohn Mekalanos is the Lehman Professor at Harvard Medical School, has served as Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology (formerly Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) since 1996. Dr. Mekalanos has received many honors, including election to the National Academy of Sciences and American Academy of Microbiology, the Eli Lilly Award, AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize, and City of Medicine Award. In 2012 he was chosen as the first recipient of the Drexel Medicine Prize in Infectious Disease and received the Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award for Biomedical Research. He has been a member of the FDA Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologics and has consulted for numerous governmental and private agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, The International Vaccine Institute, the National Academy of Sciences, Massachusetts Public Health Biological Laboratories, and the US-Japan Cooperative Medical Science Program. His research spans multiple facets of bacterial pathogenesis with an emphasis on using genetic and functional genomic approaches to explore virulence gene regulation and host-pathogen interactions. His laboratory has provided many genetic tools that have been successfully used in the field for decades, establishing fundamentally new approaches to understanding bacterial virulence from the gene to the genomic levels. Dr. Mekalanos has served on the dissertation advisory committees of more than 30 students, mentored 14 graduate students in his own laboratory and trained 56 postdoctoral fellows, many of whom hold positions and appointments at major academic and research institutions, including Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Dartmouth Medical School, the University of Rochester, the University of Michigan, the University of Texas at San Antonio, at Brownsville, and at Tyler, University of California at Berkeley, at San Diego, and at Santa Barbara, the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Northwestern University, Biozentrum, Institut Pasteur, and Novartis. The Mekalanos group has provided classic insights, such as the identification of the regulatory factors that control production of both cholera toxin and the intestinal colonization factor TCP, identification of the filamentous bacteriophage that carries the genes for cholera toxin, development of reporters for virulence gene expression in vivo, and identification of small molecules that inhibit virulence. More recently, the Mekalanos laboratory reported the discovery of the Type VI secretion system and has made dramatic progress in defining how this novel organelle dynamically functions. His group has contributed to the development of prototype vaccines effective against cholera, typhoid, anthrax and other encapsulated microorganisms, as well as to finding evidence that bacteriophages control cholera epidemics in natural endemic settings.
Postdoctoral FellowI come from Argentina, where I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Buenos Aires. For my PhD I joined the DeRisi lab at the University of California, San Francisco. My thesis work was centered on measuring mRNA translation on a genome-wide level in the Malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum using ribosome profiling. My current work in the Mekalanos lab is centered on uncovering the genome-wide landscape of genetic interactions in V. cholerae and assessing the effects of essential gene depletion on bacteria survival.
Postdoctoral FellowI joined Mekalanos' Lab as a joint international Ph.D student in 2010. In 2013, I received my Ph.D degree from Nankai University, China and continued with my research as a postdoc fellow here in the lab. The goal of my research is to understand the mechanism of the horizontal gene transfer on the evolution of the enteric pathogenic strains, Vibrio cholerae virulence genes and conditional essential genes, bacteria-host interactions and the gram-negative bacteria secretion systems. I'm also focus on the development and usage of animal models.
Postdoctoral FellowI have been a post-doc in the Mekalanos Lab since 2014. I am interested in understanding how contact-dependent inter bacterial interactions like Type VI Secretion Systems and DNA conjugation manifest in the context of complex microbial communities. Specifically, I use a combination of computer simulations, in vitro bacterial mixtures as well as in vivo animal models to understand how different bacterial behaviors affect bacterial community development and dynamics.
Postdoctoral FellowI grew up in California, where I completed a B.S in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz. There, I worked as a Junior Specialist in the lab of Dr. Fitnat Yildiz studying V. cholerae biofilm formation. I received my Ph.D. in Microbiology in 2016 at the University of California Davis under the supervision of Dr. Andreas Bäumler. My thesis work focused on understanding the mechanisms of Salmonella Typhimurium intestinal outgrowth that are required for host-to-host transmission. My postdoctoral research in the Mekalanos lab will focus on using in vivo models to study mechanisms of V. cholerae pathogenesis during infection.
Postdoctoral FellowI grew up in Norman, Oklahoma. BSc in Zoology/Biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma and PhD in Molecular Biology from UT Austin. I arrived in the Mekalanos lab with goals for studying the role of phage during cholera outbreaks and host-acquired V.cholerae infections using metagenomics. I've extended this work to examine the role of commensals and other bacteria and the mechanisms/strategies they use to modify the bacterial community and alter the impact of pathogens. Using bacteria or protein targets, I am implementing novel technologies and approaches in order to develop therapeutics using modified bacteria and/or small molecules.
Postdoctoral fellowI am from Germany where I also completed my Bachelor’s degree (Biological Chemistry, University of Applied Sciences, Mannheim), Master’s degree (Molecular Biomedicine, Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster) and phD (in the lab of Alexander Schmidt, ZMBE, Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster). My phD focused on auto-penetrating T3SS effectors and their potential use as novel therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. I joined the Mekalanos lab in January 2017 to study pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. My postdoctoral research will focus on implementing novel strategies to investigate essential genes as well as virulence factors during infection.
Research AssistantI grew up in Brooklyn, New York and received my B.S. in biology from the University at Albany. I joined the Mekalanos laboratory as a part of a collaboration to treat drug resistant bacteria. I provide targets and assays to determine if compounds identified as potential candidates are engaging with the targets in bacteria and inhibiting their functions.
Research AssistantI joined the Mekalanos lab in June of 2013 as a Research Assistant. I manage all common lab supply ordering as well as being a liaison for the lab to various laboratory safety offices on campus ensuring that everything runs smoothly. I am working on further understanding Type VI secretion system dynamics in both P. aeruginosa and V. cholerae using imaging, flow cytometry and various molecular biology techniques.
Postdoctoral FellowMy undergraduate training was in Biochemistry at the University of California, Davis and my graduate training was in Microbiology and Bacterial Pathogenesis in Daniel Portnoy’s laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. In the Portnoy lab, my doctoral work focused on virulence gene regulation and the nucleotide second messenger c-di-AMP in Listeria monocytogenes. As a post-doc in the Mekalanos lab, I am interested in uncovering and understanding how bacterial pathogens interact with the mammalian host.
Postdoctoral FellowMy studies mainly focus on the interactions between Vibrio pathogens and host commensal microbiota, and the interaction between Vibrio pathogens and host immune system. There are two animal models I have been studying with - infant mice and shrimp. The knowledge obtained from these studies provides essential insights on how Vibrio pathogens react to/manipulate host intestinal environments and eventually cause diseases. Meanwhile, the technologies developed in these studies, such as engineered probiotics, may provide new avenues for novel therapies for diseases associated with Vibrio infection.