Medical Microbiology and Immunology

NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

University of Toledo COVID-19 Updates


The Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology welcomes new faculty member:

Laura Mike
Laura Mike, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Dr. Laura Mike has accepted an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, effective July 1. Her laboratory at the University of Toledo is studying the mechanisms employed by Klebsiella pneumoniae to cause pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Dr. Mike’s expertise is in bacterial pathogenesis, having studied Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus anthracis, and Escherichia coli in her graduate and postdoctoral research. She was most recently appointed as a Research Investigator at the University of Michigan. She brings with her a K22 Career Development grant from the NIH.

WELCOME!


MMI Faculty Member Serving as Associate Editor for National Journal for Immunologists

Dr. Ferreira
Dr. Viviana Ferreira

Dr. Viviana Ferreira,
associate professor from the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, is serving as an associate editor for The Journal of Immunology as of July 1.

This invitation was extended by the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Eugene Oltz, "in recognition of your outstanding performance as a knowledgeable, fair, and prompt referee."

For over 100 years, The Journal of Immunology (published by The American Association of Immunologists) has served immunologists and the research community by publishing novel, peer-reviewed findings in all areas of experimental immunology: innate and adaptive immunity, inflammation, host defense, clinical immunology, autoimmunity, and more. The current impact factor for the journal is 5.4 and is "the most highly cited immunology journal worldwide."


Click Here to Learn More

Huntley Lab publishes collaborative research on tick-borne diseases in high-impact journal

Brenden TullyJason Huntley
Brenden Tully, MSBS            Jason Huntley, Ph.D.

A recent publication in Nature Communications (Impact Factor 12.1) features collaborative research from Dr. Jason Huntley's laboratory in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yale University, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), NIH-NIAID, and Old Dominion University.

Ticks are known to transmit a wide variety of life-threatening infectious diseases to humans, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and tularemia. However, little is known about how tick salivary factors promote infections or modulate host inflammatory responses. This recent publication, entitled "Tick extracellular vesicles enable arthropod feeding and promote distinct outcomes of bacterial infection," found that ticks secrete extracellular vesicles into hosts during blood feeding events, different tick species secrete vesicles with distinct protein components, and these tick proteins act locally to modulate skin immune responses. The study went on to show that tick extracellular vesicles have complex interactions with bacterial infections – promoting infection by Anaplasma phagocytophilum (a rickettsial agent), while decreasing the morbidity and mortality of Francisella tularensis (agent of tularemia).

Tick and F. tularensis studies were performed at UToledo by Brenden Tully, a MSBS student who graduated from Dr. Huntley's lab in December 2020. These studies are part of long-term efforts by the Huntley lab to understand how different bacterial pathogens infect and persist in ticks.

Click Here to Read the Article


  MMI Faculty Member participates in UToledo  Virtual COVID-19 TownHall - 07/20/21
In the latest of our virtual town hall series, experts will share recent findings about how COVID-19 and its vaccines affect cardiovascular health. Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and Dr. Matthew Hepburn will explore the impact and outlook for the virus in northwest Ohio and nationally. Panelists will field questions from community members in attendance.

UToledo Experts Address COVID-19:  Part 6
Tuesday, July 20, 2021: 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Panelists Include:
Wade Kapszukiewicz - Mayor, City of Toledo
Dr. Matthew Hepburn - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Biological Technologies Offices
Christopher J. Cooper, M.D. - Dean, The University of Toledo College of Medicine & Life Sciences
Joan Duggan, M.D. - Professor, Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease
Jason F. Huntley, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Medical Microbiology and Immunology

Click Here to View


MMI faculty member participates in prestigious national immunology meetings

Ferreira
Top right: Dr. Alfred Kim, University of Colorado, Chair session; Top left: Dr. Harris, Newcastle University, who talked about complement and therapeutics; Bottom left: Dr. Kulkarni, Washington University School of Medicine, who talked about local complement synthesis; Bottom right: Dr. Viviana Ferreira. Not shown: Dr. Kemper, NIH, who talked about the intracellular complement system

Dr. Viviana Ferreira, associate professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, recently participated in two prestigious national immunology meetings:
• Dr. Ferreira organized the 7th International Complement Society (ICS) Guest Symposium at the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) meeting, held virtually in May. The session was titled: "Complement: Alive and Kicking" and distinguished speakers covered topics on complement and (a) neural development and degeneration, (b) cancer, (c) kidney disease, and (d) COVID-19 associated thrombosis and coagulopathy. Dr. Ferreira has organized the last three ICS Guest Symposia at AAI.

• Dr. Ferreira gave an invited lecture titled "Overview of Complement Pathways and Associations with Human Disease" at the 1st ICS Guest Symposium at the Federation of Clinical Immunologists Society (FOCIS) annual meeting, held virtually in June. The session was titled: "Complement and Human Disease: New Ticks for an Old Dog." She was one of four expert speakers on the complement system and clinical immunology.


MMI Welcome Back Celebration
Welcome Back Party
The Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology (MMI) recently welcomed back more than fifty faculty, staff, and students.   With all the excitement of seeing each other in person, MMI faculty members took the opportunity to share their challenges and successes with their research over the past year. These discussions renewed the collaborative atmosphere between the faculty, staff, and students, which will allow the department to move forward towards new research endeavors and academic achievements. The Chair, Dr. Kevin Pan, thanked everyone for their efforts and for doing a great job over the past year.


MMI Faculty Member Collaborates on C. diff research

Dr. Blumenthal

 Dr. Bob Blumenthal, Track Director for Bioinformatics and Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, recently published an article in Nature Communications (Impact Factor 12.1) with collaborators at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The paper is on the CamA protein of Clostridioides difficile (C. diff). C. diff is a major bacterial pathogen, and this CamA enzyme methylates its DNA and helps control which genes are turned off or on. The paper explored the mechanism of action of CamA. Efforts are underway to see if CamA might be a useful drug target.

The paper was also selected as one of the featured articles.
Click Here to Read the Article


Congratulations to the MMI Faculty Member who received a 2021 Award for Creative and Scholarly Activity,

Dr. Chattopadhyay
Dr. Saurabh Chattopadhyay

Dr. Chattopadhyay was recognized for numerous high-quality, highly cited journal articles in publications such as Immunity; Cell, Host & Microbe; and Frontiers in Immunology, among others.

Click Here for More Information


 Congratulations to the MMI Faculty Member who received a 2021 University Research Funding Opportunities Award,

Dr. Huntley
Dr. Jason F. Huntley, Associate Professor

Research Innovation Program, $80,000:  for understanding how tick microbiomes impact infections by bacterial pathogens.

The University of Toledo’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs recently announced its University Research Funding Opportunities awards for Spring 2021.  


Congratulations to the MMI Faculty Member who received a 2021 Award for Grantsmanship,

Dr Wooten
Dr. R. Mark Wooten
Funding Sources: NIH and Burroughs Welcome Fund

The University of Toledo recognized faculty members who secured external support for their research programs over the 2018-20 period with the 2021 Awards for Grantsmanship.

"In many disciplines, particularly those based on laboratory research, financial demands for personnel support such as students, equipment, supplies and travel far exceed what the University can provide, so external grant support is necessary to support a faculty member's research," said Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice president for research.  "Many faculty members across campus are successful in securing external awards for their research and I am pleased to be able to recognize from this group those who have secured the most external funding for their research programs over the past three years."

Click Here for More Information


  MMI Faculty Member participates in UToledo  Virtual COVID-19 TownHall - 05/25/21
In the latest of our virtual town hall series, The University of Toledo will host public health officials from across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan for a virtual town hall discussion on the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday, May 25.  In addition to answering questions from the audience, the expert panel will provide the latest information about COVID-19, talk about the local pandemic response and discuss vaccination for children.

UToledo Experts Address COVID-19:  Part 5
Tuesday, May 25, 2021: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Panelists Include:
Daniel Cadigan, M.D. - Medical Director, Toledo-Lucas County Health Department
Katie Crowell, Director of Nursing at the Ottawa County Health Department
 Dr. Jacob Maciejewski, Pediatrician from ProMedica Physicians;
 Ben Robison, Health Commissioner at the Wood County Health Department
Dr. Carl Schmidt, Medical Director at the Monroe County Health Department
Joan Duggan, M.D. - Professor, Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease
Jason F. Huntley, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Russell Smith, Pharm.D. - Chief Pharmacy Officer, The University of Toledo Medical Center

Click Here to View


Congratulations to the 2021 Robert T. Tidrick Golden Apple Award Winner for Teaching Excellence in Basic Sciences,

Dr. Ferreira
Viviana Ferreira, D.V.M., Ph.D.

The Robert T. Tidrick Golden Apple Awards for teaching excellence are named in honor of Dr. Tidrick, a surgeon and outstanding educator on the faculty of the former Medical College of Ohio from 1969 until his death in June 1983, at the age of 73. Faculty, both basic scientists and clinicians, are selected for the honor each year by members of the graduating class of medical students.

Click Here to Learn More


 Congratulations to Sara Moore on her Toledo Blade article, "Protein key to understanding disease, immune response" published on May 3, 2021

Sara Moore


COMLS Commencement

Congratulations to the 2021 Commencement Graduate Student Speaker:

Claire
Claire Meikle

Claire was chosen to deliver the Graduate Student Address to the Class of 2021.   Claire is receiving her Doctor of Medicine degree and will next head to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for residency training in Psychiatry-Family Medicine.   She also completed her Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Her advisor is Dr. Randall Worth. Her dissertation title is "Platelet-leukocyte aggregation in lung cancer patients."

WTOL 11: UToledo Medical Student Reflects on How the Pandemic Shaped Her Future in Medicine


MMI Faculty Recognized for Tenure & Promotion
Congratulations to members of our faculty who were recently approved for promotion by The University of Toledo Board of Trustees at its April meeting!
The MMI faculty member who received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor is

Dr. Taylor
Dr. Travis Taylor

CONGRATULATIONS!

Click Here for More Information


MMI Faculty member named editor-in-chief of the journal Immunobiology

Dr. Ferreira

Dr. Viviana Ferreira, associate professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, was recently named editor-in-chief of the journal Immunobiology (Elsevier Publisher).

Following its history as the first-ever published Specialist Immunology Journal, founded in 1909, Immunobiology follows its mission to form a vital link between scientists and clinicians by offering a fast track line for high priority publications to speed up communication amongst immunologists all over the world. In the best of spirits, Immunobiology aims to continue the tradition set by its founding members and supporters.

The journal publishes original research articles, short communications, reviews, commentaries and letters to the editors. In addition the journal publishes special Issues to widely cover specific research themes within the field of Immunology and proceedings of Immunological Societies.

Click Here to Learn More
Click Here to Read the UToledo News Story


UToledo Virologist Studying New Way of Regulating Harmful Inflammation

Dr. Chattopadhyay

Supported by the National Institutes of Health's $2.2 million, five-year grant, Dr. Saurabh Chattopadhyay is studying how a protein key to activating the body's antiviral immune system might also regulate virus-induced inflammatory responses.  Titled “Anti-inflammatory functions for non-transcriptional IRF3,” the research studies the function of Interferon Regulatory Factor 3 (IRF3) in respiratory virus-induced inflammatory responses.

Dr. Chattopadhyay has been involved in studying how the cellular transcription factor IRF3 protects against viral infections. IRF3 is essential for the production of interferons that inhibit viral replication. Extensive research through Dr. Chattopadhyay and colleagues has uncovered a new antiviral activity of IRF3 to kill the virus-infected cells. In the current award, Dr. Chattopadhyay proposes to investigate a new function for IRF3 to protect against virus-induced inflammatory responses.

Dr. Chattopadhyay will be supported by his co-investigators, Dr. Ritu Chakravarti, assistant professor, Physiology and Pharmacology, and Dr. Travis Taylor, assistant professor, MMI.

Dr. Chattopadhyay would like to acknowledge the support from his collaborators that include the leaders in the field; Drs. George Stark (a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an expert of cytokine signaling), Laura Nagy (an expert of liver biology and inflammation), Ganes Sen (a leader of innate antiviral immunity) from the Cleveland Clinic, and Drs. Kevin Pan, Viviana Ferreira, Vijay Kumar, and Xiche Hu, from The University of Toledo.

The research in Dr. Chattopadhyay lab is currently supported by the extramural funds through R21 (NIAAA, PI), RO1 (NIAAA, PI, sub-award), and RO1 (NIAID, PI) awards from NIH and state-funding from the Ohio Department of Health

Click Here to Read the Full UToledo Article

Click Here to Watch the NBC24 News Segment


Congratulations to the 2021 Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences Outstanding Student Awardee: Claire Meikle!
ClaireDr. Worth
Claire Meikle, MD/PhD Candidate            Randall Worth, Ph.D.
Claire has been selected as an outstanding graduate student in her program of study in the College of Medicine & Life Sciences while working in the lab of Dr. Randall Worth.  

Click Here to See Previous Years Awardees


2021 Graduate Research Forum Winners and Finalists Announced

Graduate Research Forum

Last week, the Council of Biomedical Graduate Students (CBGS) and the College of Pharmacy presented the Graduate Research Forum. More than 70 students registered for the forum and a number of faculty members volunteered to judge virtual sessions.   Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners:

Winners Poster Session
Rachel Golonka (First Place)
Smrithi Sugumaran Menon (Second Place; Ferreira lab)
Sara Moore (Third Place; Ferreira lab)

Finalists Poster Session
Sukanya Chakravarty (Chattopadhyay lab)
Fathima Dhilhani Mohammed Faleel
Mitchell Harberson

Winners & Finalists Oral Session
Kathryn Becker (First Place Tie)
Joshua Breidenbach (First Place Tie; Kennedy/Haller lab)
Jonnelle Edwards (Second Place)

Click Here for More Information & the Abstract Booklet


Faculty members share what's ahead after light flu season, unprecedented pandemic

Jason Huntley
Dr. William Saunders, chief of service at The University of Toledo Medical Center Emergency Department, and Dr. Jason Huntley, associate professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, were interviewed recently for an article in the Toledo Blade about a sharp decrease in influenza and how the development of COVID-19 vaccines might hold lessons for future flu seasons.

Read the Full Article


 MMI Faculty Member participates in UToledo Fourth Virtual TownHall - 03/30/21
In the latest of our virtual town hall series, Dr. Daniel Cadigan from the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department will share information about the region's response to COVID-19. UToledo experts will also field live questions from members of our community.

UToledo Experts Address COVID-19:  Part 4
Tuesday, March 30, 2021: 5 - 6 p.m.

Panelists Include:
Daniel Cadigan, M.D. - Medical Director, Toledo-Lucas County Health Department
Joan Duggan, M.D. - Professor, Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease
Jennifer Hanrahan, D.O. - Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease
Jason F. Huntley, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Russell Smith, Pharm.D. - Chief Pharmacy Officer, The University of Toledo Medical Center

Click Here to View


 

MMI researcher explains importance of receiving both COVID-19 vaccine doses


Dr. Jason Huntley
, associate professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, explains in a new UToledo video the importance of completing both doses of available COVID-19 vaccines.


MMI Faculty Member participates in UToledo Third Virtual TownHall - 02/04/21
Northwest Ohio continues to face serious challenges due to COVID-19. In the latest of our virtual town hall series, UToledo's panel of experts will field unanswered questions from previous events and open the floor for an extended, live question-and-answer session with guests in attendance from our community.

UToledo Experts Address COVID-19:  Part 3
Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021: 5 - 6 p.m.

Panelists Include:
Imran Ali, M.D. - Professor and Clair Martig Endowed Chair of Neurology
Joan Duggan, M.D. - Professor, Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease
Jennifer Hanrahan, D.O. - Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease
Jason F. Huntley, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Russell Smith, Pharm.D. - Chief Pharmacy Officer, The University of Toledo Medical Center

Click Here to View


MMI University of Toledo 2020-2021 Graduate Research Awardee

Congratulations to Sara Moore!
Sara
Sara Moore
, MD/PhD candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Viviana Ferreira, Associate Professor, in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, was recently awarded the University of Toledo 2020-2021 Graduate Research Award.  This UToledo Graduate Student Association (GSA) Graduate Research Award will provide $1,987.80 towards Sara’s research project titled, “The Role of Properdin, a Positive Regulator of the Complement System in Rheumatoid Arthritis".

Congratulations to Briana Zellner, Ph.D.!
Briana Zellner
Congratulations to Briana Zellner, a 2019 graduate of Dr. Huntley's lab, for a published research article titled
"A Francisella tularensis L,D‐carboxypeptidase plays important roles in cell morphology, envelope integrity, and virulence" published in Molecular Biology.

Maxim Marino, M.S.
Maxim Marino
January 12, 2021
Congratulations!
Maxim Marino successfully defended his thesis titled: "Determining the Role of Antimicrobial Peptides in Vibrio cholerae Virulence Gene Expression".
Advisor: Jyl Matson, Ph.D.
Future Plans: Max plans to return to Michigan while he applies for jobs and possibly graduate programs.
Email: maxim.marino@rockets.utoledo.edu

Congratulations to the 2020 MMI Graduate Student Research Scholar Awardees (MMIRSA)
Anna GlanzGayatri Subramanian
          Anna Glanz           Gayatri Subramanian
The Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology has announced this year's awardees for the MMI Graduate Student Research Scholar Award (MMIRSA). 

Both awardees are 2020 graduates from the lab of Dr. Saurabh Chattopadhyay:

Anna Glanz
Gayatri Subramanian

Congratulations to both the awardees and their PI on this achievement!

The MMIRSA award serves to encourage and increase MMI graduate student publications and pre-doctoral fellowship submissions.
More information on the award can be found at this link.


MMI Faculty Members participate in UToledo Second Virtual TownHall - 01/07/21

Hospitals across northwest Ohio are experiencing dangerously high occupancy rates due to COVID-19. Our second Virtual Town Hall will answer important and unanswered questions from the first event, with the help of UToledo infectious disease and virology experts.  

The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences Alumni Affiliate invites you to a College of Medicine and Life Sciences Virtual Town Hall, "UToledo Experts Address COVID-19: Part Two," on Thursday, Jan. 7, from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. 
Click here to View the Recording

The Virtual Town Hall is hosted by Dr. Christopher J. Cooper, dean of the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences. The presenters include:

  • Saurabh Chattopadhyay, Ph.D. - assistant professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
  • Joan Duggan, M.D. - professor, Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease
  • Jennifer Hanrahan, D.O. - associate professor, Department of Medicine, Infectious Disease
  • Jason F. Huntley, Ph.D. - associate professor, Medical Microbiology and Immunology
  • Russell Smith, PharmD - chief pharmacy officer, The University of Toledo Medical Center
  • Travis Taylor, Ph.D. - assistant professor, virologist, flavivirus innate immunity
  • James W. Van Hook, M.D. - Rita T. Sheely Endowed Chair and professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology


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Last Updated: 7/26/21