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About Brian J. Akerley

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.


Present Associate Professor, University of Mississippi
Present Department of Microbiology, University of Mississippi
Present University of Mississippi Medical Center, University of Mississippi

Research Interests

Host-pathogen interactions, Bacterial genetics, and Respiratory tract infections

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Honors and Awards

  • American Heart Association Scientist Development Award (2002)
  • Dade Microscan Young Investigator Award, Dade Microscan Inc. (2001)
  • Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Fellowship (1996)
  • UMMC Research Excellence Award (2014)

Contact Information

University of Mississippi Medical Center
Jackson, MS 39216
Phone: 601-815-1235
FAX: 601-984-1708
email: bakerley (at)
Qualified individuals interested in a research position in the Akerley laboratory should send a coverletter, full CV including previous research experience, and contact information for three relevant references to this address.

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