Deborah Yoder-Himes Laboratory Page
Office Address: 354 Shumaker Research Building
Office Phone: (502) 852-0991
Lab Address: 309 Shumaker Research Building
Lab Phone: (502) 852-4660
139 Life Sciences
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
Welcome to Deborah Yoder-Himes’s lab website!
Broad scope overview of our research
Have you ever wondered why your lungs are not infected by the bacteria you breathe in every day?
The Yoder-Himes lab focuses on the bacteria that are naturally found in the soils and sediments around the globe that cause opportunistic respiratory infections in humans. Specifically we study three groups of organisms: the Burkholderia cepacia complex, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. We are interested in how these organisms cause infections in intensive care patients, immunocompromised patients, and those people with cystic fibrosis (the most common lethal genetic disorder in Caucasian populations). We are currently identifying and characterizing the virulence factors employed by these groups by using model systems of infection such as in vitro growth, tissue culture, and mouse models, especially for Burkholderia and Stenotrophomonas, which are relatively understudied. We also employ the latest in next-generation sequencing, microscopy techniques, and systems biology techniques to obtain a global view of the organisms and their communities. Our aim is to understand how these organisms cause disease which will then allow us to develop therapeutics for their treatment. We are also interested in how these organisms evolved to become human pathogens and whether the virulence factors actually evolved for other purposes in their native environments.
I am looking for creative and driven students to undertake projects regarding bacterial pathogenesis using state-of-the-art techniques. Interested? Contact me and we can talk further.
Bacteria isolated from the sputum of cystic fibrosis patients. The colors correspond to different pigments made by at least one bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These pigments actually function as toxins to kill competitors and host cells, to help the bacteria to acquire iron, to detoxify oxygen radicals, and just happen to be different colors. The slime you see is due to the secretion of alginate, a mucus-like substance, which helps the bacteria stick to surfaces and avoid being "eaten" by immune cells.
For further information, please consult the links below.