David A. Hunstad, MD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

The lab primarily studies the interactions of pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria with their hosts. In particular, we utilize tissue culture models and mouse models to investigate the modulation of host immune responses by pathogens, and to determine the mechanisms by which these bacteria present specific virulence factors on their surfaces. Currently, we are studying the molecular mechanisms by which conserved periplasmic chaperones, such as SurA and Skp, contribute to the assembly and presentation of surface virulence factors by Gram-negative pathogens. In addition, we are using cultured bladder epithelial cells and the murine model of cystitis to investigate the ability of uropathogenic E. coli to downregulate host inflammatory cytokine production. Our goal is to discover novel targets for interventions that will prevent and treat Gram-negative infections of the urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, and central nervous system.