Global Health Colloquium - Andrew Camilli

Andrew Camilli, PhD, Tufts University, Department of Molecular Biology & Microbiology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

“Study of the Vibrio cholerae lifecycle and ways to prevent infection”

Bio - Andrew Camilli is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Tufts University School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Pennsylvania and did postdoctoral training at the Harvard Medical School. He has been a faculty member at Tufts University since 1995. His group is working to increase understanding at a molecular genetic level of the transmission and pathogenesis of two bacterial pathogens; the agent of cholera, Vibrio cholerae, and the respiratory tract pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). His lab is also doing research on a novel acellular cholera mucosal vaccine, as well as a protein antigen-based vaccine for pneumococcus. 

Abstract - The success of Vibrio cholerae as a water-borne pathogen is dependent in part on its successful dissemination from the human host into aquatic environments and a successful return to the small intestine. These transitions are extremely stressful to V. cholerae and requires appropriate gene expression and phenotypic changes to promote survival. Insight into these changes enhances our understanding of the biology of this pathogen and may aid in the development of preventative measures. Using a variety of genetic methods and animal models of infection and dissemination, we characterize gene expression changes late in the infection that serve to prepare V. cholerae for dissemination, as well as gene expression changes and required genes after dissemination has occurred. Adding to the stress of these transitions, we show that lytic bacteriophage exert a profound influence on V. cholerae during infection, which we are genetically characterizing. We are using the knowledge gained to develop vaccine-based and phage-based preventatives.