Hunstad Lab

Work in our lab focuses on the interactions of pathogenic bacteria with their hosts. We aim to elucidate the modulation of host immune responses by pathogens and to determine the mechanisms by which these bacteria present specific virulence factors on their surfaces.

We have developed a new mini-surgical model of mouse UTI which permits first-ever studies of sex differences in UTI pathogenesis and host response.  We have used this model to demonstrate that uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) establish biofilm-like communities within kidney tubules during renal abscess formation, and that androgen receptor signaling drives increased severity of UTI.  We also use cultured bladder epithelial cell models and murine models of cystitis to investigate the ability of UPEC to modulate host innate and adaptive immune responses.  Our primary goal is to discover novel targets for interventions that will prevent and treat bacterial infections of the urinary tract. Along these lines, we are leveraging recent discoveries in UTI pathogenesis to design novel therapies for prevention of recurrent UTI. Visit our Projects page for more information!

Our lab spans both the Pathobiology Research Unit and Patient-Oriented Research Unit within the Department of Pediatrics. The main lab is located on the 6th floor of the McDonnell Pediatric Research Building, while the clinical study staff are housed in PORU space on the 10th floor of the Northwest Tower.

Our new model of renal scarring after antibiotic-treated pyelonephritis is featured on the cover of Disease Models and Mechanisms in November 2017.  Click here to read it!


Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program
Pediatric Physician-Scientist Training Program

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