News of Note

Research Grants Awarded

Dr. Taj Azarian is the co-principal investigator in an award from The Rockefeller Foundation for a project entitled “Expanding genomic surveillance and epidemiology capacity in Central Florida and Southeastern US”.






Dr. Salvador Almagro-Moreno was awarded NSF Career award for his project “Convergent molecular mechanisms regulating dormancy in Vibrios”. In this research project, Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, will be used as a model system to study the role of a transcription factor, ToxR, in dormancy.





Dr. Debopam Chakrabarti received an NIH R01 grant for his project entitled, NOVEL ANTIMALARIALS FROM FUNGI.







Publication and Research Highlights

Dr. Debopam Chakrabartiand his collaborator’s research was selected for the cover of the latest issue of Marine Drugs. In this report, screening of the Harbor Branch fraction library against the Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine-resistant strain led to the identification of the novel diterpene, bebrycin A, and the known terpene, nitenin, as potent antiplasmodials.




Drs. Amy and Alex Cole’s recent article in mSphere provides a better understanding of how the nasal microbiome controls Staphylococcus aureus (SA) growth and viability, and may be useful in the design of improved SA decolonization strategies. The figure shows that while SA can proliferate over 10,000-fold on polarized nasal epithelia (panel A), select nasal bacteria inhibit SA survival even when co-incubations contained a 9-fold excess of SA (panel B).


Dr. Chakrabarti’s research group reports the discovery of fast-acting curative aryvinylquinoline antimalarial compounds in a recent article in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.





Dr. Debopam Chakrabarti and his collaborator’s publication is on the cover of February Issue of ACS Infectious Diseases. This cover shows a novel antiplasmodial agent attacking malaria parasites in infected red blood cells. This new compound was re-engineered from the indole alkaloid yohimbine using a ring distortion chemical synthesis reported by Huigens, Chakrabarti and co-workers”.

Dr. Sean Moore’s research group reported the mechanistic insight of translational frameshifting as a result of ribosomes colliding in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The figure shows that stalled ribosomes have higher E-site occupancy in the absence of ribosomal protein bL9.

Dr. Saleh Naser’s research has been highlighted on the cover of December 2019 issue of Microorganisms. The study clearly associated Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis with osteoporosis in autoimmune disease patients, including rheumatoid arthritis, with key SNPs in the TNF receptor superfamily gene.

Student Accomplishments

Michelle Cherne successfully defended her PhD. dissertation work (Dr. Alex Cole, supervisor) entitled “ HIV Infection in Women: Novel Approaches for Prevention”. Congrats to Dr. Cherne!

Division Seminar Series

April 7, 2021

Ecological diversification reveals routes of pathogen emergence in endemic populations 

Jane Jayakumar, Almagro-Moreno Lab

March 3, 2021

Lipid Modifications in Actinobacteria and their Role in Antimicrobial Resistance

Danielle Burroughs, PhD Candidate, Roy Lab.

February 3, 2021

Endocytosis of the CdtA subunit from Haemophilus ducreyi cytolethal distending toxin

Rob Huhn, PhD candidate, Teter Lab

November 4, 2020

Anti-MAP Triple Therapy Supports Immunomodulatory Therapeutic Response in Crohn’s Disease Through Downregulation of NF-κB Activation in the Absence of MAP Detection

Erij Elkamel, MS Biotechnology Student, Naser Lab.

October 7, 2020

A Conditional Protein Degradation System to Study Essential Gene Function in Cryptosporidium parvum

Dr. Hadi Hasan Choudhary, Postdoctoral Associate, D. Chakrabarti Lab

September 2, 2020

Targeting Plasmodium Kinome for Antimalarial Discovery

Speaker: Monica Bohmer, D. Chakrabarti Lab

Recent Division Publications

Wright AE, Collins JE, Roberts B, Roberts JC, Winder PL, Reed JK, Diaz MC, Pomponi SA, Chakrabarti D. Antiplasmodial Compounds from Deep-Water Marine Invertebrates. Mar Drugs. 2021 Mar 25;19(4):179. doi: 10.3390/md19040179.PMID: 33805935

Lee JW, Collins JE, Wendt KL, Chakrabarti D, Cichewicz RH. Leveraging Peptaibol Biosynthetic Promiscuity for Next-Generation Antiplasmodial Therapeutics. J Nat Prod. 2021 Feb 10. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.0c01370. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33565879

Johnstone MA, Nelson SJ, O’Leary C, Self WT. Exploring the selenium-over-sulfur substrate specificity and kinetics of a bacterial selenocysteine lyase. Biochimie. 2021 Jan 11;182:166-176. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2021.01.002. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33444662

Balasubramanian D, Murcia S, Ogbunugafor CB, Gavilan R, Almagro-Moreno S. Cholera dynamics: lessons from an epidemic. J Med Microbiol. 2021 Jan 8. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.001298. PMID: 33416465

Cole AL, Sundar M, Lopez A, Forsman A, Yooseph S, Cole AM. Identification of Nasal Gammaproteobacteria with Potent Activity against Staphylococcus aureus: Novel Insights into the “Noncarrier” State. mSphere. 2021 Jan 6;6(1):e01015-20. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.01015-20.PMID: 33408227

Kuenstner JT, Potula R, Bull TJ, Grant IR, Foddai A, Naser SA, Bach H, Zhang P, Yu D, Lu X, Shafran I. Presence of Infection by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in the Blood of Patients with Crohn’s Disease and Control Subjects Shown by Multiple Laboratory Culture and Antibody Methods. Microorganisms. 2020 Dec 21;8(12):2054. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8122054.PMID: 33371478 

Haro-Moreno JM, Coutinho FH, Zaragoza-Solas A, Picazo A, Almagro-Moreno S, López-Pérez M.Dysbiosis in marine aquaculture revealed through microbiome analysis: reverse ecology for environmental sustainability. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2020 Dec 9;96(12):fiaa218. doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiaa218.PMID: 33289802

Qasem A, Elkamel E, Naser SA. Anti-MAP Triple Therapy Supports Immunomodulatory Therapeutic Response in Crohn’s Disease through Downregulation of NF-κB Activation in the Absence of MAP Detection. Biomedicines. 2020 Nov 18;8(11):513. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines8110513.PMID: 33217961 

Banerjee T, Grabon A, Taylor M, Teter K. cAMP-Independent Activation of the Unfolded Protein Response by Cholera Toxin. Infect Immun. 2020 Nov 16:IAI.00447-20. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00447-20. Online ahead of print.PMID: 33199355

AlQasrawi D, Naser SA. Nicotine Modulates MyD88-Dependent Signaling Pathway in Macrophages during Mycobacterial Infection. Microorganisms. 2020 Nov 17;8(11):1804. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8111804.PMID: 33212859 

Azarian T, Martinez PP, Arnold BJ, Qiu X, Grant LR, Corander J, Fraser C, Croucher NJ, Hammitt LL, Reid R, Santosham M, Weatherholtz RC, Bentley SD, O’Brien KL, Lipsitch M, Hanage WP. Frequency-dependent selection can forecast evolution in Streptococcus pneumoniae. PLoS Biol. 2020 Oct 22;18(10):e3000878. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000878. eCollection 2020 Oct.PMID: 33091022

Keewan E, Naser SA. MiR-146a rs2910164 G > C polymorphism modulates Notch-1/IL-6 signaling during infection: a possible risk factor for Crohn’s disease. Gut Pathog. 2020 Oct 15;12:48. doi: 10.1186/s13099-020-00387-0. eCollection 2020.PMID: 33072191 

Huang G, Solano CM, Melendez J, Yu-Alfonzo S, Boonhok R, Min H, Miao J, Chakrabarti D, Yuan Y. Discovery of fast-acting dual-stage antimalarial agents by profiling pyridylvinylquinoline chemical space via copper catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloadditions. Eur J Med Chem. 2020 Oct 4;209:112889. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2020.112889. PMID: 33045660

Huang G, Murillo Solano C, Melendez J, Shaw J, Collins J, Banks R, Arshadi AK, Boonhok R, Min H, Miao J, Chakrabarti D, Yuan Y. Synthesis, Structure-Activity Relationship, and Antimalarial Efficacy of 6-Chloro-2-arylvinylquinolines. J Med Chem. 2020 Oct 6. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c00858. PMID: 32959656

AlQasrawi D, Qasem A, Naser SA. Divergent Effect of Cigarette Smoke on Innate Immunity in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Nicotine-Infection Interaction. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Aug 13;21(16):E5801. doi: 10.3390/ijms21165801.PMID: 32823518 

Serrano A, Qiao X, Matos JO, Farley L, Cilenti L, Chen B, Tatulian SA, Teter K. Reversal of Alpha-Synuclein Fibrillization by Protein Disulfide Isomerase. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 Jul 30;8:726. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2020.00726. eCollection 2020.PMID: 32850841 

Keewan E, Naser SA. Notch-1 Signaling Modulates Macrophage Polarization and Immune Defense against Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis Infection in Inflammatory Diseases. Microorganisms. 2020 Jul 5;8(7):1006. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8071006.PMID: 32635645 

Azarian T, Huang IT, Hanage WP. Structure and Dynamics of Bacterial Populations: Pangenome Ecology. 2020 May 1. In: Tettelin H, Medini D, editors. The Pangenome: Diversity, Dynamics and Evolution of Genomes [Internet]. Cham (CH): Springer; 2020.PMID: 32633912 

Jayakumar JM, Shapiro OH, Almagro-Moreno S. Improved Method for Transformation of Vibrio vulnificus by Electroporation. Curr Protoc Microbiol. 2020 Sep;58(1):e106. doi: 10.1002/cpmc.106.PMID: 32614522

M Jayakumar J, Balasubramanian D, Reddi G, Almagro-Moreno S. Synergistic role of abiotic factors driving viable but non-culturable Vibrio cholerae. Environ Microbiol Rep. 2020 Aug;12(4):454-465. doi: 10.1111/1758-2229.12861.PMID: 32542975

Yakobov N, Fischer F, Mahmoudi N, Saga Y, Grube CD, Roy H, Senger B, Grob G, Tatematsu S, Yokokawa D, Mouyna I, Latgé JP, Nakajima H, Kushiro T, Becker HD. RNA-dependent sterol aspartylation in fungi. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Jun 30;117(26):14948-14957. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2003266117. Epub 2020 Jun 15.PMID: 32541034

Azarian T. The Importance of Pathogen Whole-Genome Sequencing in Evaluating Interventions to Reduce the Spread of Multi-drug Resistant Organisms in the Healthcare Setting. Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Jun 6:ciaa724. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa724. Online ahead of print.PMID: 32505133 

AlQasrawi D, Abdelli LS, Naser SA. Mystery Solved: Why Smoke Extract Worsens Disease in Smokers with Crohn’s Disease and Not Ulcerative Colitis? Gut MAP! Microorganisms. 2020 May 2;8(5):E666. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8050666.

Mavian C, Paisie TK, Alam MT, Browne C, Beau De Rochars VM, Nembrini S, Cash MN, Nelson EJ, Azarian T, Ali A, Morris JG Jr, Salemi M. Toxigenic Vibrio cholerae evolution and establishment of reservoirs in aquatic ecosystems. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Apr 7;117(14):7897-7904. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1918763117.

Kennedy SJ, Cella E, Jubair M, Azarian T, Baker BJ, Shaw LN. Draft Genome Sequence of Verrucosispora sp. Strain CWR15, Isolated from a Gulf of Mexico Sponge. Microbiol Resour Announc. 2020 Mar 26;9(13):e00176-20. 

Meszaros VA, Miller-Dickson MD, Baffour-Awuah F Junior, Almagro-Moreno S, Ogbunugafor CB.  Direct transmission via households informs models of disease and intervention dynamics in cholera. PLoS One. 2020 Mar 12;15(3):e0229837. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229837. 

Cherne MD, Cole AL, Newberry L, Schmidt-Owens M, Deichen M, Cole AM. Matrix Metalloproteinases Expressed in Response to Bacterial Vaginosis Disrupt the Endocervical Epithelium, Increasing Transmigration of HIV. Infect Immun. 2020 Mar 23;88(4). pii: e00041-20. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00041-20.

Paciaroni NG, Perry DL 2nd, Norwood VM 4th, Murillo-Solano C, Collins J, Tenneti S, Chakrabarti D*, Huigens RW 3rd*. Re-Engineering of Yohimbine’s Biological Activity through Ring Distortion: Identification and Structure-Activity Relationships of a New Class of Antiplasmodial Agents. ACS Infect Dis. 2020 Jan 16. doi: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.9b00380.

Arshadi AK, Salem M, Collin, J, Yuan JD, Chakrabarti D. DeepMalaria: Artificial Intelligence Driven Discovery of Potent Antiplasmodials. Front. Pharmacol. 15 January 2020. doi: 10.3389/fphar. 2019.01526.

Keewan E, Naser SA. The Role of Notch Signaling in Macrophages during Inflammation and Infection: Implication in Rheumatoid Arthritis? Cells. 2020 Jan 2;9(1). pii: E111. doi: 10.3390/cells9010111.

Naser A, Odeh AK, Sharp RC, Qasem A, Beg S, Naser SA. Polymorphisms in TNF Receptor Superfamily 1B (TNFRSF1B:rs3397) are Linked to Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis Infection and Osteoporosis in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Microorganisms. 2019 Dec 4;7(12). pii: E646. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms7120646.

Cherubin P, Fidler D, Quiñones B, Teter K. Bimodal Response to Shiga Toxin 2 Subtypes Results from Relatively Weak Binding to the Target Cell. Infect Immun. 2019 Nov 18;87(12). pii: e00428-19. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00428-19.

Smith AM, Costello MS, Kettring AH, Wingo RJ, Moore SD. Ribosome collisions alter frameshifting at translational reprogramming motifs in bacterial mRNAs. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 22;116(43):21769-21779. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1910613116.

Miller-Dickson MD, Meszaros VA, Almagro-Moreno S, Brandon Ogbunugafor C. Hepatitis C virus modelled as an indirectly transmitted infection highlights the centrality of injection drug equipment in disease dynamics. J R Soc Interface. 2019 Sep 27;16(158):20190334. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2019.0334.

Prosperi M, Salemi M, Azarian T, Milicchio F, Johnson JA, Oliva M. Unexpected Predictors of Antibiotic Resistance in Housekeeping Genes of Staphylococcus Aureus. ACM BCB. 2019 Sep;2019:259-268. doi: 10.1145/3307339.3342138.

Guyette J, Evangelista B, Tatulian SA, Teter K. Stability and Conformational Resilience of Protein Disulfide Isomerase. Biochemistry. 2019 Aug 27;58(34):3572-3584. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.9b00405.