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Stephen H. Leppla, Ph.D.

Photo of Stephen H. Leppla 

Chief, Microbial Pathogenesis Section
Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases

Major Areas of Research

  • Structure-function relationships in bacterial protein toxins and the roles of toxins and other virulence factors in contributing to bacterial pathogenesis
  • Bacterial gene regulation, interactions of bacteria and toxins with animal cells and tissues, the effects of toxins on host physiology, and the molecular mechanisms of toxin action
  • Use of basic-research results in the design of vaccines and therapeutics
 

Program Description

The Microbial Pathogenesis Section studies bacterial diseases related to biodefense pathogens. Research focuses on identification and analysis of bacterial virulence factors and their genetic regulation; structure-function analysis of bacterial proteins and other factors; disease pathogenesis; and development of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.

Biography

Dr. Leppla earned a B.S. in biology from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin. After postdoctoral study at the University of California-Berkeley and Brown University, he became a research scientist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Maryland. He moved to the National Institutes of Health in 1989 and to NIAID in 2003.

Research Group

Photo of Stephen H. Leppla's research group 
 

Shihui Liu, Staff Scientist
Mahtab Moayeri, Staff Scientist (Core)
Andrei Pomerantsev, Staff Scientist (Core)
Mini Varughese, Scientific Operations Manager
Myriam Megouache, Lab Secretary
Christopher Bachran, Visiting Fellow
Inka Sastalla, Research Fellow
Clinton Leysath, Postdoctoral IRTA
Kuang Hua Chen, Microbiologist
Rasem Fattah, Chemist
Devorah Crown, Contractor
Yi Zhang, Contractor
Allyse Hellmich, Postbaccalaureate IRTA
Alex Wein, Postbaccalaureate IRTA
Suzanne Abdelazim, Student IRTA
Andrew McKenzie, Postbaccalaureate IRTA
Dami Phillips, Postbaccalaureate IRTA

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Selected Publications

Wein AN, Peters DE, Valivullah Z, Hoover BJ, Tatineni A, Ma Q, Fattah R, Bugge TH, Leppla SH, Liu S. An anthrax toxin variant with an improved activity in tumor targeting. Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 20;5:16267.

Moayeri M, Leysath CE, Tremblay JM, Vrentas C, Crown D, Leppla SH, Shoemaker CB. A heterodimer of a VHH (variable domains of camelid heavy chain-only) antibody that inhibits anthrax toxin cell binding linked to a VHH antibody that blocks oligomer formation is highly protective in an anthrax spore challenge model. J Biol Chem. 2015 Mar 6;290(10):6584-95.

Pomerantsev AP, Chang Z, Rappole C, Leppla SH. Identification of three noncontiguous regions on Bacillus anthracis plasmid pXO1 that are important for its maintenance. J Bacteriol. 2014 Aug 15;196(16):2921-33.

McKenzie AT, Pomerantsev AP, Sastalla I, Martens C, Ricklefs SM, Virtaneva K, Anzick S, Porcella SF, Leppla SH. Transcriptome analysis identifies Bacillus anthracis genes that respond to CO2 through an AtxA-dependent mechanism. BMC Genomics. 2014 Mar 25;15:229.

Liu S, Zhang Y, Moayeri M, Liu J, Crown D, Fattah RJ, Wein AN, Yu ZX, Finkel T, Leppla SH. Key tissue targets responsible for anthrax-toxin-induced lethality. Nature. 2013 Sep 5;501(7465):63-8.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication list.

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Patents

Leppla SH, Schneerson R, Robbins JB, inventors; United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Methods of using Bacillus anthracis protective antigen sequences for vaccination. United States patent 8,703,150. 22 Apr 2014.

Chen Z, Leppla SH, Moayeri M, Emerson SU, Purcell RH, inventors; United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Monoclonal antibodies that neutralize anthrax protective antigen (PA) toxin. United States patent 8,685,396. 1 April 2014.

Schneerson R, Kubler-Kielb J, Majadly F, Leppla SH, Robbins JB, Liu DT, Shiloach J, inventors; United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Methods for preparing immunogenic conjugates. United States patent 8,481,048. 9 Jul 2013.

Leppla SH, Rosovitz MJ, Robbins JB, Schneerson R, Hsu D, Shiloach J, Ramirez DM, inventors; United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Recombinant modified Bacillus anthracis protective antigen for use in vaccines. United States patent 8,394,387. 12 Mar 2013.

Leppla SH, Liu SH, Bugge TH, inventors; United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, assignee. Multimeric protein toxins to target cells having multiple identifying characteristics. United States patent 8,388,933. 5 Mar 2013.

Visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a complete list of patents.

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Last Updated April 12, 2016