Master of Science, Stanford University, MED-MS (2015)
Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, MI-PHD (2015)
Bachelor of Arts, Swarthmore College, Biology (2009)
In order to be transmitted, a pathogen must first successfully colonize and multiply within a host. Ecological principles can be applied to study host-pathogen interactions to predict transmission dynamics. Little is known about the population biology of Salmonella during persistent infection. To define Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium population structure in this context, 129SvJ mice were oral gavaged with a mixture of eight wild-type isogenic tagged Salmonella (WITS) strains. Distinct subpopulations arose within intestinal and systemic tissues after 35 days, and clonal expansion of the cecal and colonic subpopulation was responsible for increases in Salmonella fecal shedding. A co-infection system utilizing differentially marked isogenic strains was developed in which each mouse received one strain orally and the other systemically by intraperitoneal (IP) injection. Co-infections demonstrated that the intestinal subpopulation exerted intraspecies priority effects by excluding systemic S. Typhimurium from colonizing an extracellular niche within the cecum and colon. Importantly, the systemic strain was excluded from these distal gut sites and was not transmitted to naïve hosts. In addition, S. Typhimurium required hydrogenase, an enzyme that mediates acquisition of hydrogen from the gut microbiota, during the first week of infection to exert priority effects in the gut. Thus, early inhibitory priority effects are facilitated by the acquisition of nutrients, which allow S. Typhimurium to successfully compete for a nutritional niche in the distal gut. We also show that intraspecies colonization resistance is maintained by Salmonella Pathogenicity Islands SPI1 and SPI2 during persistent distal gut infection. Thus, important virulence effectors not only modulate interactions with host cells, but are crucial for Salmonella colonization of an extracellular intestinal niche and thereby also shape intraspecies dynamics. We conclude that priority effects and intraspecies competition for colonization niches in the distal gut control Salmonella population assembly and transmission.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004527
View details for PubMedID 25474319
Host-adapted Salmonella strains are responsible for a number of disease manifestations in mammals, including an asymptomatic chronic infection in which bacteria survive within macrophages located in systemic sites. However, the host cell physiology and metabolic requirements supporting bacterial persistence are poorly understood. In a mouse model of long-term infection, we found that S. typhimurium preferentially associates with anti-inflammatory/M2 macrophages at later stages of infection. Further, PPARδ, a eukaryotic transcription factor involved in sustaining fatty acid metabolism, is upregulated in Salmonella-infected macrophages. PPARδ deficiency dramatically inhibits Salmonella replication, which is linked to the metabolic state of macrophages and the level of intracellular glucose available to bacteria. Pharmacological activation of PPARδ increases glucose availability and enhances bacterial replication in macrophages and mice, while Salmonella fail to persist in Pparδ null mice. These data suggest that M2 macrophages represent a unique niche for long-term intracellular bacterial survival and link the PPARδ-regulated metabolic state of the host cell to persistent bacterial infection.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chom.2013.07.010
View details for Web of Science ID 000330851600008
View details for PubMedID 23954156
This study evaluated the use of Enterococcus species differentiation as a tool for microbial source tracking (MST) in recreational waters.Avian, mammalian and human faecal samples were screened for the occurrence of Enterococcus avium, Enterococcus casseliflavus, Enterococcus durans, Enterococcus gallinarum, Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus hirae and Enterococcus saccharolyticus using multiplex PCR. Host-specific patterns of Enterococcus species presence were observed only when data for multiple Enterococcus species were considered in aggregate.The results suggest that no single Enterococcus species is a reliable indicator of the host faecal source. However, Enterococcus species composite 'fingerprints' may offer auxiliary evidence for bacterial source identification.This study presents novel information on the enterococci species assemblages present in avian and mammalian hosts proximate to the nearshore ocean. These data will aid the development of appropriate MST strategies, and the approach used in this study could potentially assist in the identification of faecal pollution sources.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2010.04675.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000279733700016
View details for PubMedID 20132375
Vibrio cholerae strains are capable of inhabiting multiple niches in the aquatic environment and in some cases cause disease in humans. However, the ecology and biodiversity of these bacteria in environmental settings remains poorly understood. We used the genomic fingerprinting technique enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus sequence PCR (ERIC-PCR) to profile 835 environmental isolates from waters and sediments obtained at nine sites along the central California coast. We identified 115 ERIC-PCR genotypes from 998 fingerprints, with a reproducibility of 98.5% and a discriminatory power of 0.971. When the temporal dynamics at a subset of sampling sites were explored, several genotypes provided evidence for cosmopolitan or geographically restricted distributions, and other genotypes displayed nonrandom patterns of cooccurrence. Partial Mantel tests confirmed that genotypic similarity of isolates across all sampling events was correlated with environmental similarity (0.04 < or = r < or = 0.05), temporal proximity (r = 0.09), and geographic distance (r = 0.09). A neutral community model for all sampling events explained 61% of the variation in genotype abundance. Cooccurrence indices (C-score, C-board, and Combo) were significantly different than expected by chance, suggesting that the V. cholerae population may have a competitive structure, especially at the regional scale. Even though stochastic processes are undoubtedly important in generating biogeographic patterns in diversity, deterministic factors appear to play a significant, albeit small, role in shaping the V. cholerae population structure in this system.
View details for DOI 10.1128/AEM.01304-08
View details for Web of Science ID 000263920900024
View details for PubMedID 19139224