Nelson Lab

The lab of David E. Nelson, PhD is focused on chlamydial pathogenesis, microbiome pathogen interactions and pathogen discovery.

Active Research

The Nelson laboratory works in two distinct but sometimes overlapping areas of microbial pathogenesis. One focus is utilization of emerging genetic tools to identify virulence factors that dictate how genetically similar intracellular pathogens in the genus Chlamydia infect different tissues, evade local and systemic immunity and cause distinct disease states. Long-term goals of this project are identification of suitable antigens for use in recombinant anti-chlamydial vaccines and generation and testing of live-attenuated anti-chlamydial vaccines.

The second major focus of the laboratory is discovery of novel urogenital tract pathogens and disease syndromes. This project utilizes cutting-edge metagenomic approaches to identify disease-associated microorganisms in patients with idiopathic urogenital tract disease.

Research Funding

Genetic Analysis of Mechanisms of Chlamydial Immune Evasion. NIH/NIAID.
2R56AI099278-06.

The Role of the Urethral Microbiome in Idiopathic Urethritis in Men. NIH/NIAID.
5R01AI116706-02.

Recent Publications

Brothwell JA, Muramatsu MK, Zhong G, Nelson DE. Advances and Obstacles in the Genetic Dissection of Chlamydial Virulence. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2017 Nov 1.

Shao L, Zhang T, Melero J, Huang Y, Liu Y, Liu Q, He C, Nelson DE, Zhong G. The genital tract virulence factor pGP3 is essential for Chlamydia muridarum colonization in the gastrointestinal tract. Infect Immun. 2017. IAI.00429-17.

Tzeng YL, Bazan JA, Turner AN, Wang X, Retchless AC, Read TD, Toh E, Nelson DE, Del Rio C, Stephens DS. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017. Emergence of a new Neisseria meningitidis clonal complex 11 lineage 11.2 clade as an effective urogenital pathogen. 114(16):4237-4242.

Toh E, Gangaiah D, Batteiger BE, Williams JA, Arno JN, Tai A, Batteiger TA, Nelson DE. Neisseria meningitidis ST11 Complex Isolates Associated with Nongonococcal Urethritis, Indiana, USA, 2015-2016. Emerg Infect Dis. 2017. 23(2):336-339.

Haldar AK, Piro AS, Finethy R, Espenschied ST, Brown HE, Giebel AM, Frickel EM, Nelson DE, Coers J. Chlamydia trachomatis Is Resistant to Inclusion Ubiquitination and Associated Host Defense in Gamma Interferon-Primed Human Epithelial Cells. MBio. 2016 Dec 13;7(6). pii: e01417-16.

Rylance J, Kankwatira A, Nelson DE, Toh E, Day RB, Lin H, Gao X, Dong Q, Sodergren E, Weinstock GM, Heyderman RS, Twigg HL 3rd, Gordon SB. Household air pollution and the lung microbiome of healthy adults in Malawi: a cross-sectional study. BMC Microbiol. 2016. 16(1):182.

Muramatsu MK, Brothwell JA, Stein BD, Putman TE, Rockey DD, Nelson DE. Beyond Tryptophan Synthase: Identification of Genes That Contribute to Chlamydia trachomatis Survival during Gamma Interferon-Induced Persistence and Reactivation. Infect Immun. 2016. 84(10):2791-801.

Interrogating Genes That Mediate Chlamydia trachomatis Survival in Cell Culture Using Conditional Mutants and Recombination. Brothwell JA, Muramatsu MK, Toh E, Rockey DD, Putman TE, Barta ML, Hefty PS, Suchland RJ, Nelson DE. J Bacteriol. 2016. 198(15):2131-9.

Gehre L, Gorgette O, Perrinet S, Prevost MC, Ducatez M, Giebel AM, Nelson DE, Ball SG, Subtil A. Sequestration of host metabolism by an intracellular pathogen. Elife. 2016. 5:e12552.

Twigg HL 3rd, Knox KS, Zhou J, Crothers KA, Nelson DE, Toh E, Day RB, Lin H, Gao X, Dong Q, Mi D, Katz BP, Sodergren E, Weinstock GM. Effect of Advanced HIV Infection on the Respiratory Microbiome. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2016. 194(2):226-35.

Faculty Research Team

David E. Nelson, PhD

David E. Nelson, PhD

Associate Professor of Microbiology & Immunology

Additional Research Team Members

Other research team members in the Nelson Lab include Amanda Giebel, PhD (Post-doctoral Fellow), Yuan Sun, PhD (Post-doctoral Fellow), Evelyn Toh, PhD (Senior Research Associate) and Xiaoli Zhang (Research Associate).