Research Summary

I lead an interdisciplinary group of microbiome researchers committed to understanding host-associated microbes, reducing these complex microbial ecologies to molecular mechanism, and applying these lessons to improve the practice of medicine. Our three major topics of interest right now are pharmacology, nutrition, and phage biology. While we love sequencing and gnotobiotic mice, our work is question-driven not limited to a specific approach. Prior studies have ranged from the molecular (e.g., biochemistry, bacterial genetics, structural biology) to the organismal (e.g., gnotobiotic mice, conventional animals, and clinical trials) to the ecological (e.g., synthetic microbial communities and metagenomic sequencing). We embrace high-risk, high-reward projects and thrive on collaboration.

Research Funding

  • July 1, 2020 - March 31, 2025 - Host-microbiome interactions shape the metabolic effects of ketogenic diets, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIDDK, Sponsor Award ID: R01DK114034
  • September 1, 2019 - August 31, 2024 - Employing the gut microbiome to accelerate effective initiation of rheumatoid arthritis therapy, Co-Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIAMS, Sponsor Award ID: R01AR074500
  • August 1, 2020 - July 31, 2024 - Establishing the feasibility of editing the human gut microbiome, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCCIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01AT011117
  • March 1, 2016 - February 28, 2021 - Predicting and preventing drug metabolism by the human gut microbiome, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NHLBI, Sponsor Award ID: R01HL122593

Education

Whitman College, B.A., 05/2003, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology
Washington University in Saint Louis, Ph.D., 05/2009, Molecular Genetics and Genomics
Harvard University, Postdoctoral, 08/2014, Systems Biology

Honors & Awards

  • 2007
    Kauffman Fellowship for Life Sciences Entrepreneurship, Washington University in Saint Louis
  • 2007
    Bridging GAPS Interschool Award (BioEntrepreneurship Core), Washington University in Saint Louis
  • 2009
    David M. Kipnis Award in Biomedical Sciences, Washington University in Saint Louis
  • 2010
    Philip Needleman Pharmacology Prize, Washington University in Saint Louis
  • 2015
    Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research, Global Probiotics Council
  • 2016
    Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
  • 2016
    UCSF Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research, UCSF
  • 2016
    UCSF Breakthrough Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis-related Research, UCSF
  • 2016
    UCSF School of Medicine Faculty Travel Award, UCSF
  • 2016
    GENEWIZ Week Lab Startup Award, Genewiz
  • 2016
    Searle Scholar, Kinship Foundation
  • 2017
    UCSF Facilities Services First Impressions Contest, UCSF
  • 2018
    CZ Biohub Investigator, Microbiome Initiative, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub
  • 2018
    ASM Young Investigator Award
  • 2018
    Agilent Early Career Professor Award Finalist
  • 2018
    Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Disease Award

Selected Publications

  1. Alexander M, Ang QY, Nayak RR, Bustion AE, Sandy M, Zhang B, Upadhyay V, Pollard KS, Lynch SV, Turnbaugh PJ. Human gut bacterial metabolism drives Th17 activation and colitis. Cell Host Microbe. 2021 Nov 18.  View on PubMed
  2. Mirzayi C, Renson A, Genomic Standards Consortium, Massive Analysis and Quality Control Society, Zohra F, Elsafoury S, Geistlinger L, Kasselman LJ, Eckenrode K, van de Wijgert J, Loughman A, Marques FZ, MacIntyre DA, Arumugam M, Azhar R, Beghini F, Bergstrom K, Bhatt A, Bisanz JE, Braun J, Bravo HC, Buck GA, Bushman F, Casero D, Clarke G, Collado MC, Cotter PD, Cryan JF, Demmer RT, Devkota S, Elinav E, Escobar JS, Fettweis J, Finn RD, Fodor AA, Forslund S, Franke A, Furlanello C, Gilbert J, Grice E, Haibe-Kains B, Handley S, Herd P, Holmes S, Jacobs JP, Karstens L, Knight R, Knights D, Koren O, Kwon DS, Langille M, Lindsay B, McGovern D, McHardy AC, McWeeney S, Mueller NT, Nezi L, Olm M, Palm N, Pasolli E, Raes J, Redinbo MR, Rühlemann M, Balfour Sartor R, Schloss PD, Schriml L, Segal E, Shardell M, Sharpton T, Smirnova E, Sokol H, Sonnenburg JL, Srinivasan S, Thingholm LB, Turnbaugh PJ, Upadhyay V, Walls RL, Wilmes P, Yamada T, Zeller G, Zhang M, Zhao N, Zhao L, Bao W, Culhane A, Devanarayan V, Dopazo J, Fan X, Fischer M, Jones W, Kusko R, Mason CE, Mercer TR, Sansone SA, Scherer A, Shi L, Thakkar S, Tong W, Wolfinger R, Hunter C, Segata N, Huttenhower C, Dowd JB, Jones HE, Waldron L. Reporting guidelines for human microbiome research: the STORMS checklist. Nat Med. 2021 Nov; 27(11):1885-1892.  View on PubMed
  3. Lam KN, Spanogiannopoulos P, Soto-Perez P, Alexander M, Nalley MJ, Bisanz JE, Nayak RR, Weakley AM, Yu FB, Turnbaugh PJ. Phage-delivered CRISPR-Cas9 for strain-specific depletion and genomic deletions in the gut microbiome. Cell Rep. 2021 Nov 02; 37(5):109930.  View on PubMed
  4. Ang QY, Alba DL, Upadhyay V, Bisanz JE, Cai J, Lee HL, Barajas E, Wei G, Noecker C, Patterson AD, Koliwad SK, Turnbaugh PJ. The East Asian gut microbiome is distinct from colocalized white subjects and connected to metabolic health. Elife. 2021 Oct 07; 10.  View on PubMed
  5. von Schwartzenberg RJ, Bisanz JE, Lyalina S, Spanogiannopoulos P, Ang QY, Cai J, Dickmann S, Friedrich M, Liu SY, Collins SL, Ingebrigtsen D, Miller S, Turnbaugh JA, Patterson AD, Pollard KS, Mai K, Spranger J, Turnbaugh PJ. Caloric restriction disrupts the microbiota and colonization resistance. Nature. 2021 07; 595(7866):272-277.  View on PubMed
  6. Artacho A, Isaac S, Nayak R, Flor-Duro A, Alexander M, Koo I, Manasson J, Smith PB, Rosenthal P, Homsi Y, Gulko P, Pons J, Puchades-Carrasco L, Izmirly P, Patterson A, Abramson SB, Pineda-Lucena A, Turnbaugh PJ, Ubeda C, Scher JU. The Pretreatment Gut Microbiome Is Associated With Lack of Response to Methotrexate in New-Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2021 06; 73(6):931-942.  View on PubMed
  7. Buffington SA, Dooling SW, Sgritta M, Noecker C, Murillo OD, Felice DF, Turnbaugh PJ, Costa-Mattioli M. Dissecting the contribution of host genetics and the microbiome in complex behaviors. Cell. 2021 04 01; 184(7):1740-1756.e16.  View on PubMed
  8. Liu H, Shiver AL, Price MN, Carlson HK, Trotter VV, Chen Y, Escalante V, Ray J, Hern KE, Petzold CJ, Turnbaugh PJ, Huang KC, Arkin AP, Deutschbauer AM. Functional genetics of human gut commensal Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron reveals metabolic requirements for growth across environments. Cell Rep. 2021 03 02; 34(9):108789.  View on PubMed
  9. Nayak RR, Alexander M, Deshpande I, Stapleton-Gray K, Rimal B, Patterson AD, Ubeda C, Scher JU, Turnbaugh PJ. Methotrexate impacts conserved pathways in diverse human gut bacteria leading to decreased host immune activation. Cell Host Microbe. 2021 03 10; 29(3):362-377.e11.  View on PubMed
  10. Man K, Bowman C, Braverman KN, Escalante V, Tian Y, Bisanz JE, Ganeshan K, Wang B, Patterson A, Bayrer JR, Turnbaugh PJ, Chawla A. A thermogenic fat-epithelium cell axis regulates intestinal disease tolerance. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 12 15; 117(50):32029-32037.  View on PubMed
  11. Pröbstel AK, Zhou X, Baumann R, Wischnewski S, Kutza M, Rojas OL, Sellrie K, Bischof A, Kim K, Ramesh A, Dandekar R, Greenfield AL, Schubert RD, Bisanz JE, Vistnes S, Khaleghi K, Landefeld J, Kirkish G, Liesche-Starnecker F, Ramaglia V, Singh S, Tran EB, Barba P, Zorn K, Oechtering J, Forsberg K, Shiow LR, Henry RG, Graves J, Cree BAC, Hauser SL, Kuhle J, Gelfand JM, Andersen PM, Schlegel J, Turnbaugh PJ, Seeberger PH, Gommerman JL, Wilson MR, Schirmer L, Baranzini SE. Gut microbiota-specific IgA+ B cells traffic to the CNS in active multiple sclerosis. Sci Immunol. 2020 11 20; 5(53).  View on PubMed
  12. Alexander M, Turnbaugh PJ. Stressed-out gut bacteria are pterin up gut inflammation. Nat Microbiol. 2020 11; 5(11):1316-1318.  View on PubMed
  13. Alexander M, Turnbaugh PJ. Deconstructing Mechanisms of Diet-Microbiome-Immune Interactions. Immunity. 2020 08 18; 53(2):264-276.  View on PubMed
  14. Stubbs BJ, Koutnik AP, Goldberg EL, Upadhyay V, Turnbaugh PJ, Verdin E, Newman JC. Investigating Ketone Bodies as Immunometabolic Countermeasures against Respiratory Viral Infections. Med (N Y). 2020 Dec 18; 1(1):43-65.  View on PubMed
  15. Zou L, Spanogiannopoulos P, Pieper LM, Chien HC, Cai W, Khuri N, Pottel J, Vora B, Ni Z, Tsakalozou E, Zhang W, Shoichet BK, Giacomini KM, Turnbaugh PJ. Bacterial metabolism rescues the inhibition of intestinal drug absorption by food and drug additives. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 07 07; 117(27):16009-16018.  View on PubMed
  16. Atreya CE, Turnbaugh PJ. Probing the tumor micro(b)environment. Science. 2020 05 29; 368(6494):938-939.  View on PubMed
  17. Ang QY, Alexander M, Newman JC, Tian Y, Cai J, Upadhyay V, Turnbaugh JA, Verdin E, Hall KD, Leibel RL, Ravussin E, Rosenbaum M, Patterson AD, Turnbaugh PJ. Ketogenic Diets Alter the Gut Microbiome Resulting in Decreased Intestinal Th17 Cells. Cell. 2020 06 11; 181(6):1263-1275.e16.  View on PubMed
  18. Bisanz JE, Soto-Perez P, Noecker C, Aksenov AA, Lam KN, Kenney GE, Bess EN, Haiser HJ, Kyaw TS, Yu FB, Rekdal VM, Ha CWY, Devkota S, Balskus EP, Dorrestein PC, Allen-Vercoe E, Turnbaugh PJ. A Genomic Toolkit for the Mechanistic Dissection of Intractable Human Gut Bacteria. Cell Host Microbe. 2020 06 10; 27(6):1001-1013.e9.  View on PubMed
  19. Basolo A, Hohenadel M, Ang QY, Piaggi P, Heinitz S, Walter M, Walter P, Parrington S, Trinidad DD, von Schwartzenberg RJ, Turnbaugh PJ, Krakoff J. Effects of underfeeding and oral vancomycin on gut microbiome and nutrient absorption in humans. Nat Med. 2020 04; 26(4):589-598.  View on PubMed
  20. Razani B, Whang MI, Kim FS, Nakamura MC, Sun X, Advincula R, Turnbaugh JA, Pendse M, Tanbun P, Achacoso P, Turnbaugh PJ, Malynn BA, Ma A. Non-catalytic ubiquitin binding by A20 prevents psoriatic arthritis-like disease and inflammation. Nat Immunol. 2020 04; 21(4):422-433.  View on PubMed

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