Research in the Akerley lab focuses on the biology and pathogenicity of Haemophilus
influenzae, a bacterium that colonizes humans and leads to disease by spreading from the
nasopharyngeal mucosal epithelium to other sites in the body. Depending on a complex
interplay between the host and the infectious strain, H. influenzae invades the
bloodstream, spreads to the middle ear, infects the lungs, or colonizes the nasopharynx
persistently without producing symptoms. The transition between asymptomatic colonization
and disease involves a change in the balance between bacterial virulence mechanisms and
host defenses. Understanding how this balance is maintained and disrupted will require a
comprehensive understanding of H. influenzae biology within the host, its only known
growth environment in nature. 

Since the complete DNA sequences of the genomes of H. influenzae and those of many other
bacteria have been determined, powerful genome-scale approaches to microbiology have
become available. Our work incorporates these current methodologies and we have also
devised several new genome-based approaches for our studies of H. influenzae. We are
currently applying these approaches to other bacterial pathogens. We expect that insights
obtained and technology developed in our studies of H. influenzae will enhance
understanding of diverse bacterial pathogens. 

Articles

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Genome-scale approaches to identify genes essential for Haemophilus influenzae pathogenesis (with Sandy M. Wong), Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology (2012)
 

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High-resolution phenotypic profiling defines genes essential for mycobacterial growth and cholesterol catabolism (with Jennifer E. Griffin, Jeffrey D. Gawronski, Michael A. Dejesus, Thomas R. Ioerger, and Christopher M. Sassetti), PLoS Pathog (2011)
 

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A novel zinc binding system, ZevAB, is critical for survival of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae in a murine lung infection model (with Charles V. Rosadini, Jeffrey D. Gawronski, Daniel Raimunda, and José M Argüello), Infection and immunity (2011)
 

Contributions to Books

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High-throughput insertion tracking by deep sequencing for the analysis of bacterial pathogens (with Sandy M. S. Wong, Jeffrey D. Gawronski, and David S. Lapointe), Methods in molecular biology (2011)
 

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Analysis of gene function in bacterial pathogens by GAMBIT (with David J. Lampe), Methods in enzymology (2002)
 

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BvgAS Dependent Phenotypic Modulation of Bordetella Species (with Peggy A. Cotter and Jeff F. Miller), Signal Transduction and Bacterial Virulence (1995)