Shonna M. McBride, PhD

Assistant Professor

Microbiology and Immunology

ARTDTP Research Discipline

Work in the McBride laboratory is focused on identifying and understanding the mechanisms that pathogens utilize to colonize and persist within the gastrointestinal environment. In particular, they are interested in understanding the genetic mechanisms used by the pathogen Clostridium difficile to subvert host defenses and survive within the mammalian intestine. To colonize the intestine and cause persistent infections, C. difficile must be able to circumvent killing by host innate immune defenses. The production of cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) by the host and the indigenous microbiota represent a critical component of host defense against infections that bacteria must overcome to cause persistent disease. The group has evidence that resistance of C. difficile to antimicrobial peptides plays a major role in the ability of the bacterium to colonize the human intestine and cause disease. As such, the laboratory is focused on identifying and understanding the mechanisms that C. difficile utilizes to resist CAMPs produced by the host and the indigenous microbiota of the intestine. To date, they have identified multiple CAMP resistance mechanisms employed by C. difficile, including the novel bacteriocin resistance mechanism, CprABC. By uncovering the bacterial resistance mechanisms that influence disease progression, it is expected that this research will generate knowledge that can be used to manipulate the interactions between the bacteria and the host to prevent and treat infections.

ARTDTP Faculty Collaborators

Joanna B. Goldberg, PhD

William M. Shafer, PhD

David S. Weiss, PhD