Announcements

M&I Ph.D student receives University ExCITE grant

Henry NabetaM& I student Henry Nabeta received an ExCITE award of $50,000 for his project "Developing Q-Griffithsin as a new anti fungal agent".  UofL’s ExCITE program is funded through the National Institute of Health’s Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) program. The goal of the program is to support proof-of-concept centers (hubs) that facilitate and accelerate the translation of biomedical innovations into commercial products that improve patient care and enhance health.

Department Welcomes Incoming Students of 2019

Monday, August 12, the Department of Microbiology & Immunology welcomed  the incoming M&I graduate students with a luncheon in the CTRB.  Incoming students include Richard Bautista, Easton Ford, Kamille Rasche, Omar Sarker, Caleb Whitley and Matthew Woeste.

2019 New student orientation lunch.                

M&I PhD Candidate receives NIH F31 award

PriceSarah Price, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Matthew Lawrenz, has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for her PhD research entitled “Identification of a novel zinc acquisition system in Yersinia pestis”. This three year fellowship will support Sarah’s research in the field of nutritional immunity.

 

                                     

Dr. Bing Li appointed University Scholar

Bing LiDr. Bing Li, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, was recognized as University Scholar in April 2019, an honor bestowed on select faculty  who significantly exceed the scholarship necessary for appointment, promotion and tenure at U of L and in doing so achieve a strong national reputation.  He is the second M&I faculty to receive this title.

2019 Research Grant Awards

 Dr. Chung received a 5 year NIH U19 award (U19-AI142762) entitled“Center of Excellence for Encephalitic Alphavirus Therapeutics”, as MPI/Project leader.

 

 

 

EgilmezDr. Egilmez was awarded a two year Idea Development grant (LC180086)  from the DOD Lung Cancer  Research Program for a project entitled “Overcoming Anti-PD-1 Resistance in Lung Cancer” (PI) and a 3 year R44 award from the NIH (R44-DK117687) entitled “IL-10NanoCap for Therapy of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis” (MPI).

 

 

 

ShirwanDr. Shirwan was awarded a two-year NIH R21 grant (R21-AI147677) entitled “Establishing immunoprivileged scaffolds for transplantation of immature beta cells.

 

 

 

 

Matthew LawrenzDr. Matt Lawrenz is co-investigator on an NIH STTR (R41-AI142726) grant entitled “Use of a Designer Proline-rich antimicrobial peptide Chaperone protein inhibitor (DPC) for treating antibiotic resistant pneumonia” with a subaward to his laboratory.  The project period is 4/1/2019 – 3/31/2020.

M&I Faculty Receive Multiple Awards in 2018

M&I Endowed Chair Professor Yousef Abu-Kwaik was recently awarded a National Institute of Health R01 grant entitled "Innate immunity and inflammatory response of macrophages to Legionella infection".  The grant received a score of 1%.  This NIH funded project is budgeted from 09/14/2018 - 08/31/2023 for $1,913,286.


M&I Associate Professor Esma Yolcu recently received a SBIR Phase I award from the National Institute of Health entitled “Exploiting activation-induced cell death as a means of inducing tolerance to kidney allografts”.  The award is a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


M&I Associate Professor Esma Yolcu and M&I Professor Haval Shirwan recently received a $500,000 gift in memory of William Marvin Petty, MD.  The funds are to be used to advance Type 1 Diabetes research conducted in the School of Medicine Department of Microbiology and Immunology.  Dr. Yolcu and Dr. Shirwan’s research focuses on the use of ProtEx technology, pioneered by the team, as an alternative to gene therapy for immunomodulation to treat transplant rejection and autoimmune diseases with particular focus on Type 1 Diabetes.     

 

M&I Professor Haval Shirwan received a five year NIH/NIAID R01 grant award in support of the application entitled “A novel immunomodulatory approach to overcome innate and adaptive immune barriers to islet transplantation”.  The project is for the period  11/5/2018 – 10/31/2023 with a total budget of $1,943,360.

 

M&I Associate Professor Bing Li was recently awarded a National Institute of Health R01 grant entitled "Immunomodulatory mechanisms of E-FABP in psoriasis pathogenesis".  This NIH funded project is budgeted from 09/24/2018 - 08/31/2023 for $1,925,000.

 

M&I Associate Professor's Matthew Lawrenz (PI) and Jonathan Warawa (Co-PI) were awarded a contract from the FDA entitled “Development of a Mouse Model for Preclinical Screening of Investigational Drugs Against Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and Acinetobacter Baumannii”.  The $933,606 award runs from 9/19/2018 to 9/18/2020. http://www.uoflnews.com/post/uofltoday/uofl-researchers-escalate-efforts-against-multi-drug-resistant-bacteria-with-fda-contract/

  

Abu-Kwaik

Dr. Abu-Kwaik

Shirwan

Dr. Shirwan

Yolcu

Dr. Yolcu

Bing Li

Dr. Li

Matthew Lawrenz

Dr. Lawrenz

Jonathan Warawa

Dr. Warawa

Department is awarded first NIH T32 training grant in its history

M&I received the notice of award for its NIH T32 training grant application entitled “Inflammation and Pathogenesis Training Program” on August 1st.  Dr. Haval Shirwan (Professor, M&I) is the contact PI and Dr. Richard Lamont (Chair, Department of Oral Immunology and Infectious Disease) is the Co-PI on this award.  The grant will support 4 PhD students per year during the 5 year period 8/1/2018-7/31/2023.  This collaborative effort between M&I and OIID is the first NIH T32 training award in Department’s history.

Haval Shirwan    Lamont

 

 

 

 

Dr. Haval Shirwan         Dr. Richard Lamont

M&I Faculty Publish Back-to-Back High Impact Articles in 2018

Bing LiDr. Bing Li's discovery of a novel molecular link between obesity and breast cancer entitled "Circulating Adipose Fatty Acid Binding Protein is a Link Underlying Obesity-Associated Breast/Mammary Tumor Development," appeared in the online version of the November 2018 issue of Cell Metabolism (2017 impact factor 20.565).  The study was the result of a long-standing collaborative project between the Li lab and colleagues at the University of Minnesota, Hartford Healthcare Cancer Center in Connecticut and Peking University in China.  Separately, Dr. Bing Li was selected to be featured in NCI’s electronic newsletter, Nutrition Frontiers, a publication of the Nutritional Science Research Group (NSRG), NCI, NIH. The NSRG Program staff selected him based on the high level of enthusiasm for his research efforts on Prevention of Breast cancer Development by Epidermal Fatty Acid Binding Protein as well as his past contributions in the field of nutrition and cancer prevention.  He will be featured in the section, “Investigator Spotlight” in October.

 

Read More...

 

 

 

Haval Shirwan

Dr. Haval Shirwan, along with a team of researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan published on a potential new therapy for treating Type 1 Diabetes.  This new therapy involves the use of a novel technology for islet cell transplantation.  More information regarding Dr. Shirwan's, et al., research may be found in Nature Materials (2017 impact factor 39.737).

 

 

 

 

Read More...



Huang-Ge ZhangDr. Huang-Ge Zhang’s paper entitled “Plant-derived exosomal microRNAs shape the gut microbiota” has been accepted for publication in the journal “Cell Host Microbe” (2017 impact factor 17.87).  The article will be featured on the cover.   It describes the novel finding that diet-derived exosome-like nanoparticles can selectively modulate the metabolism of gut-resident bacteria via microRNA, which ultimately impacts  immune homeostasis in the gut.


 

M&I Faculty Awarded Multiple NIH/NIAID Grants in 2017

M&I Associate Professor Matthew Lawrenz was recently awarded a National Institute of Health R21 grant entitled "Zinc Acquisition in Yersinia pestis".  The major goal of this project is to define the contribution of the yersiniabactin synthase-dependent zinc acquisition system on the virulence of Yersinia pestis.  This NIH funded project is budgeted from 11/24/2017 - 10/31/2019 for $437,080.


M&I Professor Dr. Esma Yolcu recently awarded a National Institute of Health SSRT grant to study “SA-FasL-engineered human islets as a novel product for the treatment of type 1 diabetes."  The major goal of this phase I STTR application is to develop SA-FasL-engineered human islets as a novel immune privileged product for the treatment of type 1 diabetes (T1D).  This NIH funded project is budgeted from 07/01/2017 – 03/30/2018 for $224,529.00.

 

M&I Professors Drs. Thomas Mitchell and Carolyn Casella were recently awarded a National Institute of Health R01 grant to study “Mechanisms of successful vaccine adjuvants." This NIH funded project is budgeted from 06/26/2017 – 05/31/2022 for $1,925,000.

     Casella

 

Drs. Haval Shirwan and Esma Yolcu have been awarded a multiple PI NIH/NIAID UO1 grant with Andres Garcia from Georgia Institute of Technology. The grant is entitled “Targeted delivery of immunomodulatory biologics for induction of immune privilege to allogeneic pancreatic islet grafts”.  The major focus of this project is to develop immunomodulatory biomaterials for induction of tolerance to allogeneic islets as a cure for type 1 diabetes.  The award amount of $1,954,270 is budgeted for 06/20/20176 – 05/31/2022

      

 

M&I Professor and Vice Chair, Haribabu Bodduluri, PhD was awarded a grant titled ‘Innate immune mechanisms regulating silicosis”. This NIH/NIAID funded project is budgeted from 6/6/2017 - 5/30/2019 for $423,500. This research is important to explore the mechanisms of their recent work on silicosis and lung cancer; https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150429084837.htm

Hari Bodduluri

 

M&I Associate Professors Drs. Jon Warawa and Matt Lawrenz were recently awarded an NIH/ NIAID grant contract to study “Therapeutics Testing In a Murine Model of Multiple Drug Resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Lung Infection.” This NIH/ NIAID funded project is budgeted from 03/2017 – 11/2018 for $729,174.

Jonathan Warawa     Matthew Lawrenz

 

M&I Assistant Professor Dr. Krishna Jala was recently awarded a National Cancer Institute of National Institute of Health R21 grant to study “PQ-10:  Microbial metabolite, Urolithin A is a potent immunomodulator and chemosensitizing adjuvant in treating color cancer.” This NIH funded project is budgeted from 04/12/2017 – 03/31/2019 for $368,445.

 

M&I Associate Professor Dr. Jon Warawa was recently awarded an NIH/ NIAID grant contract to study “HHSN272201000033I/HHSN2720005 / Task A91- Mod #1.” This NIH/ NIAID funded project is budgeted from 03/21/2017 – 05/25/2018 for $508,703.

 

M&I Professor Dr. Nathan Schmidt was recently awarded an NIH/ NIAID grant contract to study “Role of gut microbiota in shaping severity of malaria.” This NIH/ NIAID funded project is budgeted from 01/11/2017 – 12/31/2021 for $2.6M.  http://uoflnews.com/post/uofltoday/uofl-researcher-awarded-2-6m-nih-grant-to-study-links-between-gut-microbiota-and-disease/

Student Highlights

M&I students receive 1st and 2nd place for doctoral dissertation at Research! Louisville

Samantha Morrissey

Congratulations to Autumn LaPointe on receiving 1st place and Samantha Morrissey on receiving 2nd place for the  2019 Research!Louisville Doctoral Basic Science award. Autumn is a doctoral candidate in the lab of Dr. Kevin Sokoloski and Samantha is a doctoral candidate in the lab of Dr. Jun Yan.

Read more at: https://louisville.edu/researchlouisville/r-l-2019-award-winners-and-photos/r-l-2019-award-winners/view

 

 

Autumn LaPointe

 





2019 T32 Awardees announced

The Inflammation and Pathogenesis T32 Training Grant is excited to announce its newest PhD graduate student fellows: Drew Skidmore, laboratory of Dr. Donghoon Chung, Trey Landers, laboratory of Dr. Kevin Sokoloski, and Sarah Price laboratory of Dr. Matthew Lawrenz. These students will join 2018 fellow Autumn LaPointe, laboratory of Dr. Kevin Sokolowski, in the program.

 

 

 This year M&I’s summer high school program MISTRE merged with Louisville Science Pathways, which is the Science Policy and Outreach Group’s University-wide internship program. This merger expanded the opportunities to include weekly career seminars, and how to apply to two- and four-year colleges, with emphasis on careers in the biomedical field. Altogether, seventeen 10th and 11th graders experienced hands on research projects.  M&I provided stipends to two of the seventeen participants, Awa Koita from Central High, and Osazuwa Omoruyi from St. Francis; who were hosted in the labs of Drs. Venkatakrishna Jala and Sylvia Uriarte, respectively. During their internship, the students participated in mentored biomedical research, focused on the roles of microbial communities inhuman disease.

MISTRE is coordinated by Claire Jones, and Louisville Science Pathways is coordinated by Dylan Johnson and Sarah Price. Claire, Dylan and Sarah are all PhD candidates in the Department.

 

 

The Microbiology and2018 SLB Group Immunology Department was well represented by its graduate students at the 2018 Joint Meeting of the Society for Leukocyte Biology and International Endotoxin and Innate Immunity Society in October. Amanda Pulsifer (laboratory of Matthew Lawrenz) was one of three finalists for the SLB Presidential Award, which included the opportunity to present her research at a plenary session during the first day of the meeting. Katlin Stivers’ research (laboratory of Jay Hoying) was also highlighted and she was chosen to give a “Poster Flash Talk”. Irina Miralda (laboratory of Silvia Uriarte) won a SLB travel Award for her poster presentation. Finally, Hazel Ozuna (laboratory of Don Demuth) was selected to present her research at the Late Breaking Research Poster Session. Congratulations to all of the students!

 

Tiva Vancleave, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Matthew Lawrenz, has been awarded the 2018 University of Louisville School of Medicine Student Diversity Award.  This award acknowledged Tiva’s commitment to the educational and societal needs of underrepresented minorities through mentorship and service during her PhD career. Tiva was recognized for this award during the 2018 PhD Commencement Ceremony, where she also received a Dean’s Citation for her PhD research on the YapE protein of Yersinia pestis.

 

 


Hazel Ozuna, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Donald Demuth, has been awarded a five year F31 Research Fellowship from the National Institiute of Dental & Craniofacial Research for her project entitled: "Exploitation of the host response by Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans mediated by QseBC".

  

  


Katlin Stivers, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. James Hoying, has been awarded a predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association for her project entitled "Regulation of Adipose Tissue Inflammation by Resident Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells". The two year award will fully support her research investigating the role of tissue resident, immunosuppressive myeloid cells in promoting immune homeostasis in healthy, lean adipose tissue and preventing the chronic inflammation that can lead to the development of obesity.

Earlier this year, Katlin also received a travel award to give an oral presentation on her current work "Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells in Adipose Tissue Homeostasis" as  part of the Kaley Lecture featured topic session, "The Complications of Diabetes and the Role of Inflammation: Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities" at the Experimental Biology 2017 Conference, April 22-26, Chicago, IL.

 

Amanda Pulsifer was awarded a “Best Poster Presentation” prize at The Yin and Yang of Phagocytes: Regulators of Human Health and Disease Gordon Research Conference, June 11-16, Waterville Valley, NH for her work entitled “Exploitation of Host Rab GTPases by Yersinia pestis Facilitates Intracellular Survival”. Amanda is a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Matthew Lawrenz.

 

 

M&I Faculty Receive Excellence in Education Awards

M&I Welcomes Incoming Students of 2017

Monday, August 7, the Department of Microbiology & Immunology welcomed  the incoming M&I graduate students with a luncheon in the CTRB. Incoming students include Anne Geller, Melissa Henckel, Zak Henn, Claire Jones, Consolee Karangwa, Trey Landers, and Rejeena Shrestha.

      

      

M&I students publish first author papers

M&I students publish first author papers

Shuvasree Sengupta

Two M&I students recently published their first - first author papers in August and September. 

Shuvaree Sengupta, PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Thomas Mitchell was first author on a paper published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology in August.  Shuvaree’s  paper “A Pseudomonas aeruginosa hepta-acylated lipid A variant associated with cystic fibrosis selectively activates human neutrophils” published in Journal of Leukocyte Biology can be found here:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27538572

ArmstrongCortney Armstrong, PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Silvia Uriarte was first author on a paper published in Infection and Immunity in September.  Cortney’s  paper “Filifactor alocis promotes neutrophil degranulation and chemotactic activity” published in Infection and Immunity can be accessed here:  http://iai.asm.org/content/early/2016/09/13/IAI.00496-16.abstract

Metagenomics and health proposal selected to be funded

Egilmez

Lamont

 

Dr. Nejat Egilmez, chairman of Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology and Dr. Rich Lamont, chairman of Oral Immunology and Infectious Diseases, along with the School of Public Health and the Kent School of Social Work drew up a metagenomics and health interdisciplinary proposal which was recently selected to be funded. The iRFP proposal, “Program in Metagenomics and Health,” has been selected to be funded January 1 - December 31, 2017, with the possibility of annual renewal through 2019. The award is $250,000 for the current year. Annual assessment will be directed by the sponsors of the program, the Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies and the Vice President for Research and Innovation, who will review progress for a recommendation to the president and provost.

 

M&I Heart Walk a success!

Heart Walk 2016

On Saturday, September 17th at Waterfront Park, M&I PhD student, Nikki Warner headed up a volunteer group from the department of Microbiology and Immunology and it's friends and family in the Kentuckiana Heart Walk, an American Heart Association event designed to raise money and awareness to fight cardiovascular disease and stroke. Nikki was happy to report that the event was a huge success:

We had 15 walkers, walked 3 miles, and raised $644!!!  This is the most we have ever raised (since I’ve been Team Captain) and it’s the most walkers we’ve ever had in one year!!  I can’t thank everyone enough for the donations!  I would like to especially thank our great walking team for getting up early and trudging through the rain!  You guys were champions!

Thank you everyone for another successful year!

 Nikki  

 

M&I Welcomes Incoming Students of 2016

Monday, August 8, the Department of Microbiology & Immunology welcomed  the incoming M&I graduate students with a luncheon in the CTRB. Incoming students include James Birch, Jing Ma, Autumn Towne, Morgan Duff, Sarah Price,  Dylan Johnson, Henry Nabeta, Samantha Morrissey, Ruqaih Alghsham,  Stephanie Lunn, Kylee Creason, Bethany Vaughn and  Abdulrahman Alrezaihi.

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MISTRE broadens student's horizons

MISTRE broadens student's horizons

Brittany Mangas- first MISTRE participant

Microbiology and Immunology Summer Transitional Research Experience (MISTRE)

Brittany Mangas- 2016

 When I applied for the Microbiology and Immunology Summer Transitional Research Experience at the University of Louisville several months ago, I had no idea what to expect coming into the program. My knowledge in the sciences was fairly limited in high school, and the opportunity to expand that was overwhelmingly exciting. What I was even less prepared for, however, was how much I would truly end up learning in these eight weeks in more fields than I imagined.

During the summer, I was mentored by Neal Bhutiani, a surgical resident in the process of working towards a Ph.D. Neal was very patient in explaining what it was he was doing specifically in his own experiments, as well as teaching me techniques and necessary lab skills I would need later in life. By the end of the first week, I was able to successfully create a useable gel to run a polymerase chain reaction. At the end of the eight weeks, I am now able to run the reaction from start to finish on my own, as well as analyze the results to pick out which mice show positive and which show negative under the U.V. lamp.

Not only was I able to gain experience in something I will likely be doing later on in my schooling, but Neal allowed me to participate in things I was curious about. I helped grow bacteria, stain slides, and use different microscope techniques, such as confocal, to view them. Many of these things are more advanced than what I will be exposed to during undergraduate school, making them that much more interesting to see.

All my life, I have set a clear path that headed straight towards Neuroscience. Because of this, I never took the time to open my mind to other fields of science that are just as interesting. Immunology was definitely a hard topic to grasp, and that only covers the basics! This field would take several lifetimes to master, but I have loved every second of trying this summer. I began by studying the differences between the innate and adaptive immune system, and then moved on to cell types and functions. I spent a lot of time focusing on several T-cell populations, including TH1, TH2 and TH17 cells, as well as CD8 T-cells. After further explanation from Neal, I began to understand the concept of cytokines and receptors involved in these cells that allow the immune system to work as intended. I spent some time reading different sections in Dr. Eglimez’s Immuno-biology textbook, aiding me as both a source of knowledge and preparation. As I have mentioned, my previous teachings in biology were very limited, and there were several things Neal sat down to review with me that I did not grasp on my own. By the end of every work day, I had learned a new concept in Immunology.

I spent some time at the University outside of this lab and inside another, working with primarily microbiology. Working alongside Ashley Best, I washed bacteria and removed it from various suspensions in order to run it through a PCR, eventually to extract it from the gel. Working with Ashley showed me a much different side to this program, one that I enjoyed just as much. Looking at similar things through different perspectives aided me in grasping wide concepts in science.

Flow was another vital part of my summer in the program. I spent a day with Bob Miller reviewing Flow Cytometry after spending time on my own looking over some material. He opened the machine and explained how the laser functions as well as how the data is processed in the machine and displayed on the computer. Forward scatter and side scatter are measured, determining the type of cell that is found based on complexity and size. After working with Bob, I had a better understanding of the variety of methods that need to be used in the lab to obtain the information you need in order to successfully run an experiment.

Perhaps my favorite part of MISTRE was working with the mice. Although I was not allowed to experiment with them myself, I was able to watch Neal perform the most important part of his project in person. I was able to see the foundation for genotyping from start to finish, and learned how testing as “positive” or “negative” comes into play when it is time for breeding. In addition, having a personal experience with animal testing will help me defend how essential it truly is for humankind throughout my life. Neal taught me many regulations during my time in the turnaround and barrier that will make sure I am safely working with animals when it is time to do research on my own further in my career. These include maintaining the cages, checking for signs of discomfort in the animal, proper weaning, and how perform tail snips to be able to accurately genotype.

Working with Neal for the duration of this program has been an enlightening experience. Not only was I able to learn about the workings of immunology, but I gained knowledge that will help me in all aspects of life. These include proper time management, successful interactions with peers, and even balancing school and work.  Having already completed medical school, he was able to teach me many things that would be beneficial to me to know over the next eight years of my life, as well as equip me with diagrams and websites to navigate successfully in science.

Overall, this summer has been the most eventful one yet. I have learned more in these eight weeks than I have in an entire year of high school. I gained tremendous interest in research, and have a new acceptance for the idea of exploring as many fields of science as possible- Neuroscience may not be for me. Spending a summer in a lab may not seem exciting to the average American teenager, but I would not have wanted to do anything else. I am appreciative for the opportunity to participate this year, and hope the program continues for many years to come.