Professor Howard Hang of The Rockefeller University

Professor Howard Hang of The Rockefeller University will present

"Chemical Dissection of Host-Microbe Interactions"

on February 14, 2018 at 4:10 PM in Neville Hall, Room 3.



Infections by microbial pathogens continue to be a major burden on global health and demands a better understanding of host-microbe interactions to prevent and treat infectious diseases.  With the genetic blueprints of many microbes and animal hosts now available, my laboratory is interested in 1) new chemical approaches to functionally dissect how endogenous or environmental metabolites (microbiota, dietary) regulate host immunity and microbial pathogenesis and 2) the discovery and characterization of novel anti-infectives.  Towards these goals, my laboratory has employed C. elegans as a model system for exploring the protective activity and complex mechanisms of specific commensal bacteria and probiotics.  We discovered that a secreted peptidoglycan hydrolase (SagA) from E. faecium is sufficient to trigger innate immune pathways, improve intestinal barrier function and protect worms from enteric pathogens (S. Typhimurium). In collaboration with the Mucida laboratory, we further showed that the SagA protection mechanisms are conserved in mice and can be used to enhance the activity of existing probiotics to prevent enteric infections, including C. difficile. These studies highlight our ongoing efforts to establish more efficient systems to discover and characterize novel anti-infectives. For this lecture, I will focus on our reconstitution of commensal bacteria protection mechanisms in C. elegans, which led to our discovery and characterization of SagA-mediated protection against enteric pathogens.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Professor Howard Hang


Dr. Marcos Pires