M&I News

Team microbiome
Microbiologist KC Huang on the trillions of bacteria inhabiting our gastrointestinal tracts: “We’re kind of both cautiously engaging with them as allies, but also realizing that we could be at war at any point.”

mRNA vaccine beats infection for key defense against COVID-19
Stanford researchers Mark Davis, professor of microbiology and immunology and postdoctoral scholars Vamsee Mallajosyula and Fei Gao have shown that prior SARS-CoV-2 infection reduces killer T cells’ response to vaccination. These cells are crucial for eliminating the virus from the body.

Why it’s hard to tell what gave you food poisoning
It takes time for the invaders to multiply in your intestines before you experience symptoms, and the timing is different for everyone explains Denise Monack, professor of microbiology and immunology.

A discovery by Stanford researchers may pave the way for a “morning after” or prophylactic nasal spray to prevent infection
In a study in the print issue of CellPeter Jackson, professor of pathology and of microbiology and immunology, and his colleagues brought that possibility closer to reality by pinpointing the routes that the COVID-19 virus, takes to enter and exit cells in our nasal cavity. 

Stanford researchers construct most complex, complete synthetic microbiome
Michael Fischbach, associate professor of bioengineering and of microbiology and immunology, and others saw one solution: Build a microbiome from scratch by growing individually and then mixing its constituent bacteria to help scientists learn more about the connections between the microbiome and human health.

Stanford Medicine, Molecules of Life Issue 1, 2022 (pdf download )
Working in the lab of virologist Jan Carette (right), M&I graduate student Christine Peters leads a project using assembloids to study relatives of poliovirus that cause paralysis. On the screen: a poliovirus and its receptor. 

Preparing for the viruses we’ve yet to meet
Jeffrey Glenn, professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology, is on a mission to de-fang COVID-19 and prepare the world for future viral threats.

Infants losing the gut bacteria to digest breast milk
A study led by Stanford M&I researchers professor Justin Sonnenburg, senior author and Matt Olm, lead author and postdoctoral scholar in Sonnenburg’s lab found that as nations industrialize, a species of bacteria critical in the early development of infant gut microbiomes fades away.

Hugh McDevitt, whose work unraveled genetic controls of immune system, dies at 91
The Stanford immunologist’s research on how our immune cells recognize pathogens — and what happens when this process goes wrong — paved the way to modern immunology.

Antibodies in blood soon after COVID onset may predict severity
“We’ve identified an early biomarker of risk for progression to severe symptoms. We found that antibodies elicited by an mRNA vaccine — in this case, Pfizer’s — differ in important, beneficial ways from those in people infected with SARS-CoV-2 who later progress to severe symptoms”  said Taia Wang, assistant professor of infectious diseases and of microbiology and immunology.

Zooming in on naked RNA
A system developed by Stanford scientists M&I professor Wah Chiu and professor Rhiju Das gets 3D images of RNA-only molecules in high enough resolution to see structures that are key to understanding how they function.  Guided by insights from their 3D structure of FSE, Das’s team and collaborators in M&I professor Jeff Glenn’s lab engineered DNA molecules that pair up with a strategic region of the FSE and disrupt its structure.

A fermented-food diet increases microbiome diversity and lowers inflammation, Stanford study finds
Justin Sonnenburg,  associate professor of microbiology and immunology, Erica Sonnenburg  PhD, and Christopher Gardner PhD are co-senior authors. Lead authors are Hannah Wastyk, graduate student and former postdoc Gabriela Fragiadakis, now assistant professor at UCSF who are both from the Sonnenburg Lab.

What's the origin of COVID-19? 5 Questions on investigating origin of coronavirus
Professor of microbiology and immunology David Relman, explores how the coronavirus could have emerged and why we need to know.

Stanford ITI Director and professor of microbiology and immunology, Mark  Davis, PhD, and Tak Mak, PhD of the University of Toronto are the recipients of the 2021 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research
for their breakthrough discoveries of the structure of T-cell receptor (TCR) and pioneering research in deciphering the mechanisms of T-cell recognition and development.

Postdoc Leah Guthrie named HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow
The fellowship program selects exceptional early-career scientists with the goal of promoting diversity in biomedical research. Leah Guthrie, a microbiologist and immunologist in the Sonnenburg Lab, has been recognized for her work on mapping  gut microbes.

What’s a virus?
This animation, an accompaniment to the article, “What’s a virus, anyway?” delves into these questions and more. The animation was created in conjunction with Bruce Goldman, the author of the original article, and Jan Carette, associate professor of microbiology and immunology.

Jeffrey Glenn awarded grant to develop broad-spectrum antiviral drugs
Jeffrey Glenn
, professor of gastroenterology and hepatology and of microbiology and immunology, has been awarded a five-year, $14.3 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to fund the development of broad-spectrum antiviral drugs for enteroviruses and potentially SARS-CoV-2.

Stanford Medicine researchers lead clinical trial of interferon-lambda for COVID-19
A clinical trial is underway to determine whether a drug can keep people who’ve just tested positive for the coronavirus out of the hospital, help them recover faster and make them safer to be around in the meantime. Co-leading the study are Principal investigators Prasanna Jagannathan, and Upinder Singh, both professors of infectious diseases and of microbiology and immunology.

Nine Stanford faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences
Peter Sarnow
, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford is one of the faculty elected. He studies a microRNA specific to the liver. Sarnow hopes to gain insights that lead to new treatments for hepatitis C. His lab also studies interactions between viral messenger RNA and the protein-making machinery of cells these viruses infect.

What’s a virus, anyway? Part 2: How coronaviruses infect us — and how viruses created us
Here's more information about coronavirus with crucial assistance from Stanford virologist Jan Carette, associate professor of microbiology and immunology.

What’s a virus, anyway? Part 1: The bare-bones basics
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe, the term "virus" gets a lot of airplay. But what exactly are viruses, and how do they spread? Here's a primer, with a hat tip to Stanford virologist Jan Carette, associate professor of microbiology and immunology.

COVID-19 Research
Stanford Medicine scientists have launched dozens of research projects as part of the global response to COVID-19. Some aim to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease; others aim to understand how it spreads and how people’s immune systems respond to it.

His grandfather cleaned Stanford labs. Now he’s pursuing his doctorate here
Daniel Navarrete is working in the same Stanford labs that his grandfather used to clean. He is a graduate student, studying to become a scientist like those his grandfather admired so much.

Stanford postdoc cited as example to girls interested in STEM fields
Dorothy Tovar, graduate student in microbiology and immunology, is among those selected to be an IF/THEN ambassador.

In human cells and mice, a cure for the common cold?
Jan Carette, associate professor of microbiology and immunology is one of the authors of a paper describing how he and his colleagues found a way to stop a broad range of enteroviruses, including rhinoviruses, from replicating inside human cells in culture, as well as in mice. 

People’s response to flu vaccine influenced by gut microbes
Bali Pulderon, professor of pathology and of microbiology and immunology ssyas the depletion of gut bacteria by antibiotics appears to leave the immune system less able to respond to new challenges, such as exposure to previously unencountered germs or vaccines.

Four Stanford faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences
Karla Kirkegaard, professor of genetics and of microbiology and immunology, Mark Krasnow, Todd Martinez and William Weis are now part of an organization created in 1863 to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology.

Newly identified enzyme could play key role in childbirth and muscle diseases, Stanford scientists say
Study co-lead author Jonathan Diep, a graduate student in the lab of Stanford associate professor of microbiology and immunology Jan Carette, pointed out there could be other histidine methyltransferases hiding right under our noses.

Stanford to host global gathering of Schmidt Science Fellows
Professor John Boothroyd, the Burt and Marion Avery Professor of Immunology at Stanford School of Medicine, has been chosen as faculty director of the Stanford-based convening.

Stanford Researchers Awarded Nearly $5M to Map Cells of Colon
Michael Snyder, professor of Genetics, and Garry Nolan, professor of microbiology and immunology will lead the Stanford Tissue Mapping Center being funded by the NIH.

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub awards encourage Bay Area-wide research collaborations
Four Stanford faculty are among the eight investigators who will be leading the Microbiome Initiative: Michael Fischbach, associate professor of bioengineering; KC Huang, associate professor of bioengineering and of microbiology and immunology; David Relman, professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology; and Justin Sonnenburg, associate professor of microbiology and immunology.

Diversity, science leadership grants awarded to student-faculty pairs
Abel Ferrel, a microbiology and immunology graduate student whose work focuses on how the single-celled Toxoplasma parasite interacts with the host cell in the chronic stage of infection. His adviser is John Boothroyd, professor of microbiology and immunology.

Gut bacteria byproduct protects against Salmonella
A molecule called propionate inhibits the growth of Salmonella in mice and may be a promising new treatment for people sickened by the pathogen, according to a new Stanford study by Amanda Jacobson, the paper’s lead author and graduate student in microbiology and immunology and Denise Monack, professor of microbiology and immunology and senior author of the paper.