KUMARASWAMI LABORATORY

Pathogenesis of group A streptococcal infections

We study inter-bacterial interactions and host-pathogen interactions that

contribute to disease pathogenesis.

about us

The laboratory is part of Center for Molecular and Translational Human Infectious Diseases Research at Houston Methodist Research Institute. The institute is part of the world's largest medical center, Texas Medical Center, which is home for several renowned institutions including Baylor College of Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of  Texas Health Sciences University,  Rice University and several hospitals.

The major focus of the laboratory is to elucidate the molecular basis of cellular processes that are critical for streptococcal pathophysiology and use that knowledge to develop novel translational strategies to combat bacterial infections.

Currently, the laboratory has 3 postdoctoral fellows and 4 research technicians. We 

are recruiting two more postdoctoral fellows with experience in animal infection studies and microbiome analyses.

research areas

Intercellular communication and bacterial      virulence       regulation

HOST
 nUTRITIONAL   IMMUNITY
        and           bacterial PATHOGENESIS

Bacterial pathogens survive in complex host environments in which they encounter commensal microbial communities and host immune molecules. They engage in interactions with the resident microbiota and host immune effectors during infection. These inter-bacterial and host-pathogen interactions have significant impact on the colonization of pathogens and bacterial disease pathogenesis. We are interested in understanding the molecular details and consequences of these interactions in disease pathogenesis. We employ a wide range of tools including microbiology, biochemistry, structural biology, and animal infection studies to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis. We are also interested in extending our basic research findings into translational studies to identify novel therapeutic and prophylactic interference strategies to treat or prevent bacterial infections. Two major areas of focus include: role of bacterial intercellular communication in virulence, and role of bacterial adaptive responses to metal limitation in host-pathogen interactions and bacterial pathogenesis.

Meet The Team

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Muthiah Kumaraswami

Principal Investigator

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Muthiah Kumaraswami obtained his PhD in 2005 under the mentorship of Martha Howe at the University of Tennessee, Memphis. He performed his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Richard Brennan at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He was appointed as Assistant Professor at HMRI in late 2010, and is currently an Associate Professor.

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Nishanth Makthal

Postdoctoral Fellow

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Nishanth is an instrumental component of all the ongoing projects in the lab. His special interest is to understand the molecular mechanisms of leaderless peptide signaling including peptide export and import. He obtained his Ph.D from LMU Munich and rejoined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow for short term. He has been very prolific with 19 publications resulting from his work in the lab.

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Shifu Aggarwal
Postdoctoral Fellow

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Shifu obtained her PhD from Institute of Life Sciences, India. She joined the lab March 2022 to investigate the molecular mechanisms of streptococcal adaptive responses to host-imposed metal starvation. Shifu discovered a new molecule that aids bacterial survival during metal limitation in vivo. She is currently pursuing the investigations to elucidate the interplay between bacterial molecule and host nutritional immune factor. She has been very productive in the laboratory. Her work already resulted in a publication. 

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Dulanthi Weerasekera

Postdoctoral Fellow

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Dulanthi Weerasekera graduated from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). She joined the lab in May 2022. Dulanthi is currently working on studying GAS adaptive responses during growth in oral  and skin polymicrobial communities  and assess the roles of identified molecules in bacterial pathogenesis.

New positions

Postdoctoral Fellow

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The lab has two new postdoctoral fellow positions to be filled as soon as possible. The prospective candidates have the option to work on either quorum sensing project or metals at host-GAS interface project. If interested, please contact Dr. Kumaraswami.

publications

 
 
 

news

2022 - WELCOME TO NEW POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS

Happy to welcome Shifu Aggarwal and Dulanthi Weerasekera as postdoctoral fellows to the lab.

APRIL 2022 - CONGRATS TO PRAVEEN FOR HIS NEW BEGINNINGS

Praveen had a stay in the lab for one year. Despite the brief stay, Praveen was very productive stint in the lab. Praveen has made significant contribution to a major upcoming story from the lab. He has completed his postdoctoral stint in the lab and started his independent group supported by Indian Council of Medical Research . 

JUNE 2021 - NEW NIH FUNDING TO THE LAB

LAB got the R01 renewed for another five years to study the role of leaderless peptides in host-group A streptococcus interactions. Happy to be able to continue our work in this exciting area.

APRIL 2020 - CONGRATS TO HACKWON FOR HIS NEW BEGINNINGS

Glad to have him in the lab for the last four years. Hackwon had a very productive stint in the lab. In little over four years, he made important discoveries regarding streptococcal pathogenesis and published more than 10 papers. He has completed his postdoctoral stint in the lab and embarked his journey as an independent group leader at Korea Polar Institute in South . 

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MARCH 2020 - NEW NIH FUNDING TO THE LAB

LAB got the second R01 funded to study the role of metals in host-group A streptococcus interactions.                                                                                     Exciting times ahead.

positions

postdoctoral fellow opportunities

 

We are seeking to recruit two postdoctoral fellows to join our team.

The prospective postdoctoral fellows will be investigating

 

i) the role of bacterial leaderless peptide signaling pathways in virulence regulation, and interbacterial competition

 

ii) the role of bacterial metal acquisition systems in host-pathogen interactions and bacterial pathogenesis.

If you are interested, please send a cover letter, CV with details of referees, and a list of publications to

Prof. Muthiah Kumaraswami @ mkumaraswami@houstonmethodist.org

 
 

CONTACT

KUMARASWAMI LAB

The laboratory is located on the 6th floor of the Houston Methodist Research Institute on the Texas Medical Center campus. We are adjacent to three major institutions (MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston) in the Texas Medical Center.

Address

KUMARASWAMI LAB

R6-330, 6670 Bertner Avenue, Houston, TX 77030

Tel. 713-441-5881

OFFICE

PROF. MUTHIAH KUMARASWAMI

R6-119, HMRI,

6670, Bertner Avenue,

Houston, TX 77030.

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