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Christina S. Faherty, Ph.D.

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Available: 01/14/19, Expires: 08/27/21

Research in our laboratory focuses on enteric bacterial pathogenesis, particularly for the Shigella species. Despite numerous host barriers, these human-specific pathogens can efficiently infect the gastrointestinal tract to cause debilitating diarrhea. Infections occur throughout the world, particularly in malnourished children in developing countries. Successful vaccines against Shigella and other enteric bacteria do not exist, and this problem is further complicated by the alarming increases in antimicrobial resistance. In order to improve our understanding of infection for therapeutic development, we replicate the most human-like environment in the laboratory setting to study bacterial pathogenesis. Our first goal is to understand how exposure to bile regulates both Shigella survival and virulence activation in the gastrointestinal tract prior to infection. Our second goal is to utilize novel infection models, namely the human intestinal organoid-derived epithelial monolayer model (HIODEM), to improve our understanding of infection. Our final goal is to apply our insight, approaches, and models toward effective therapeutic development. Available laboratory projects include: 1. Characterizing Shigella genes required for bile resistance. 2. Defining the role and mechanism of induced Shigella virulence genes following bile exposure. 3. Utilizing the HIODEM model to improve our understanding of human-specific infection for Shigella and other enteric pathogens. 4. Investigating new therapeutic targets and technologies, including bacteriophage therapies. Techniques in the lab include microbiology, DNA, RNA, protein analysis, bioinformatic analysis, RT-PCR and qPCR, genetic mutation, complementation, cloning, microscopy (with electron microscopy), tissue culture, and infection models and related analyses. We aim to teach students laboratory science, data analysis, and how to effectively conduct independent research. We also aim to match students with projects that will enhance their training and help gain experience for future career interests. Time commitments include both 4 to 6 months longer than 6 months.


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  1. Nickerson KP, Llanos-Chea A, Ingano L, Serena G, Miranda-Ribera A, Perlman M, Lima R, Sztein MB, Fasano A, Senger S, Faherty CS. A Versatile Human Intestinal Organoid-Derived Epithelial Monolayer Model for the Study of Enteric Pathogens. Microbiol Spectr. 2021 Jun 09; e0000321. PMID: 34106568.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  2. Charles RC, Kelly M, Tam JM, Akter A, Hossain M, Islam K, Biswas R, Kamruzzaman M, Chowdhury F, Khan AI, Leung DT, Weil A, LaRocque RC, Bhuiyan TR, Rahman A, Mayo-Smith LM, Becker RL, Vyas JM, Faherty CS, Nickerson KP, Giffen S, Ritter AS, Waldor MK, Xu P, Kovác P, Calderwood SB, Kauffman RC, Wrammert J, Qadri F, Harris JB, Ryan ET. Humans Surviving Cholera Develop Antibodies against Vibrio cholerae O-Specific Polysaccharide That Inhibit Pathogen Motility. mBio. 2020 11 17; 11(6). PMID: 33203761.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    
  3. Gipson KS, Nickerson KP, Drenkard E, Llanos-Chea A, Dogiparthi SK, Lanter BB, Hibbler RM, Yonker LM, Hurley BP, Faherty CS. The Great ESKAPE: Exploring the Crossroads of Bile and Antibiotic Resistance in Bacterial Pathogens. Infect Immun. 2020 09 18; 88(10). PMID: 32661122.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  4. Verma S, Senger S, Cherayil BJ, Faherty CS. Spheres of Influence: Insights into Salmonella Pathogenesis from Intestinal Organoids. Microorganisms. 2020 Apr 01; 8(4). PMID: 32244707.
    Citations: 2     
  5. Verma S, Prescott RA, Ingano L, Nickerson KP, Hill E, Faherty CS, Fasano A, Senger S, Cherayil BJ. The YrbE phospholipid transporter of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi regulates the expression of flagellin and influences motility, adhesion and induction of epithelial inflammatory responses. Gut Microbes. 2020 05 03; 11(3):526-538. PMID: 31829769.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  6. Chanin RB, Nickerson KP, Llanos-Chea A, Sistrunk JR, Rasko DA, Kumar DKV, de la Parra J, Auclair JR, Ding J, Li K, Dogiparthi SK, Kusber BJD, Faherty CS. Shigella flexneri Adherence Factor Expression in In Vivo-Like Conditions. mSphere. 2019 11 13; 4(6). PMID: 31722995.
    Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  7. Llanos-Chea A, Citorik RJ, Nickerson KP, Ingano L, Serena G, Senger S, Lu TK, Fasano A, Faherty CS. Bacteriophage Therapy Testing Against Shigella flexneri in a Novel Human Intestinal Organoid-Derived Infection Model. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019 04; 68(4):509-516. PMID: 30418409.
    Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  8. Szabady RL, Louissaint C, Lubben A, Xie B, Reeksting S, Tuohy C, Demma Z, Foley SE, Faherty CS, Llanos-Chea A, Olive AJ, Mrsny RJ, McCormick BA. Intestinal P-glycoprotein exports endocannabinoids to prevent inflammation and maintain homeostasis. J Clin Invest. 2018 08 31; 128(9):4044-4056. PMID: 30102254.
    Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  9. Nickerson KP, Faherty CS. Bile Salt-induced Biofilm Formation in Enteric Pathogens: Techniques for Identification and Quantification. J Vis Exp. 2018 05 06; (135). PMID: 29781989.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  10. Nickerson KP, Senger S, Zhang Y, Lima R, Patel S, Ingano L, Flavahan WA, Kumar DKV, Fraser CM, Faherty CS, Sztein MB, Fiorentino M, Fasano A. Salmonella Typhi Colonization Provokes Extensive Transcriptional Changes Aimed at Evading Host Mucosal Immune Defense During Early Infection of Human Intestinal Tissue. EBioMedicine. 2018 May; 31:92-109. PMID: 29735417.
    Citations: 16     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  11. Nickerson KP, Chanin RB, Sistrunk JR, Rasko DA, Fink PJ, Barry EM, Nataro JP, Faherty CS. Analysis of Shigella flexneri Resistance, Biofilm Formation, and Transcriptional Profile in Response to Bile Salts. Infect Immun. 2017 06; 85(6). PMID: 28348056.
    Citations: 21     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  12. Sistrunk JR, Nickerson KP, Chanin RB, Rasko DA, Faherty CS. Survival of the Fittest: How Bacterial Pathogens Utilize Bile To Enhance Infection. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2016 10; 29(4):819-36. PMID: 27464994.
    Citations: 24     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  13. Faherty CS, Wu T, Morris CR, Grassel CL, Rasko DA, Harper JM, Shea-Donohue T, Fasano A, Barry EM. The synthesis of OspD3 (ShET2) in Shigella flexneri is independent of OspC1. Gut Microbes. 2016 11; 7(6):486-502. PMID: 27657187.
    Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  14. Faherty CS, Faherty C, Harper JM, Shea-Donohue T, Barry EM, Kaper JB, Fasano A, Nataro JP. Chromosomal and plasmid-encoded factors of Shigella flexneri induce secretogenic activity ex vivo. PLoS One. 2012; 7(11):e49980. PMID: 23166804.
    Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
  15. Faherty CS, Redman JC, Rasko DA, Barry EM, Nataro JP. Shigella flexneri effectors OspE1 and OspE2 mediate induced adherence to the colonic epithelium following bile salts exposure. Mol Microbiol. 2012 Jul; 85(1):107-21. PMID: 22571618.
    Citations: 18     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  16. Ruiz-Perez F, Wahid R, Faherty CS, Kolappaswamy K, Rodriguez L, Santiago A, Murphy E, Cross A, Sztein MB, Nataro JP. Serine protease autotransporters from Shigella flexneri and pathogenic Escherichia coli target a broad range of leukocyte glycoproteins. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Aug 02; 108(31):12881-6. PMID: 21768350.
    Citations: 44     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  17. Faherty CS, Merrell DS, Semino-Mora C, Dubois A, Ramaswamy AV, Maurelli AT. Microarray analysis of Shigella flexneri-infected epithelial cells identifies host factors important for apoptosis inhibition. BMC Genomics. 2010 Apr 29; 11:272. PMID: 20429941.
    Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  18. Faherty CS, Maurelli AT. Spa15 of Shigella flexneri is secreted through the type III secretion system and prevents staurosporine-induced apoptosis. Infect Immun. 2009 Dec; 77(12):5281-90. PMID: 19805534.
    Citations: 17     Fields:    Translation:Cells
  19. Zurawski DV, Mumy KL, Faherty CS, McCormick BA, Maurelli AT. Shigella flexneri type III secretion system effectors OspB and OspF target the nucleus to downregulate the host inflammatory response via interactions with retinoblastoma protein. Mol Microbiol. 2009 Jan; 71(2):350-68. PMID: 19017275.
    Citations: 42     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  20. Faherty CS, Maurelli AT. Staying alive: bacterial inhibition of apoptosis during infection. Trends Microbiol. 2008 Apr; 16(4):173-80. PMID: 18353648.
    Citations: 59     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  21. Clark CS, Maurelli AT. Shigella flexneri inhibits staurosporine-induced apoptosis in epithelial cells. Infect Immun. 2007 May; 75(5):2531-9. PMID: 17339354.
    Citations: 23     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.