Soma Ghosh, Ph.D.

Bacterial Pathogenesis and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit

NIH Main Campus, Bethesda, MD

Soma Ghosh, Ph.D. (She/Her/Hers)

Staff Scientist, Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology

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Photo of Soma Ghosh, Ph.D.
  • Within-host evolution of Gram-negative bacterial pathogens in the context of chronic infection and immunodeficiency
  • Transcriptional and metabolic reprogramming that occurs during host adaptation
  • DNA methylation and epigenetic regulation of bacterial virulence and antibiotic resistance

Program Description

Bacterial pathogens may undergo dramatic evolution in the context of chronic infection, facilitating host adaptation and the development of antibiotic resistance. Recent studies have illustrated that many general evolutionary processes can be discerned in this context, including genetic diversification of lineages with purifying selection, clonal succession events, and balanced fitness trade-offs. Dr. Ghosh’s research within the Bacterial Pathogenesis and Antimicrobial Resistance Unit (BPARU) focuses on the mechanisms of bacterial pathoadaptation that occurs in the context of persistent infection in the immunocompromised host. These questions are investigated with a combination of genomic sequencing, transcriptome analysis, DNA methylome characterization, and metabolomic profiling. This work aims to understand transcriptional and metabolic reprograming that underlies host adaptation, with implications for clinical treatment of persistent host-adapted infections.



Ph.D., 2015, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

Languages Spoken

Hindi, Bengali

Dr. Ghosh received her Ph.D. in 2015 from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, where she used Systems Biology approaches to study host-pathogen interactions in the context of iron acquisition by M. tuberculosis. She joined Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, in 2015 as a postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Tamara O’Connor in the department of Biological Chemistry. There, she studied convergent evolution in Legionella and how the combined selective pressures of residing in multiple protozoan hosts have equipped Legionella to infect mammalian hosts, including humans. Dr. Ghosh joined the BPARU as a Staff Scientist in December 2021, where she is using her combined training in computational and experimental methods to study bacterial pathogenesis.

Selected Publications

Park JM, Ghosh S, O'Connor TJ. Combinatorial selection in amoebal hosts drives the evolution of the human pathogen Legionella pneumophila. Nat Microbiol. 2020 Apr;5(4):599-609.

Ghosh S, O'Connor TJ. Beyond Paralogs: The Multiple Layers of Redundancy in Bacterial Pathogenesis. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2017 Nov 15;7:467.

O'Connor TJ, Zheng H, VanRheenen SM, Ghosh S, Cianciotto NP, Isberg RR. Iron Limitation Triggers Early Egress by the Intracellular Bacterial Pathogen Legionella pneumophila. Infect Immun. 2016 Jul 21;84(8):2185-2197.

Ghosh S, Chandra N, Vishveshwara S. Mechanism of Iron-Dependent Repressor (IdeR) Activation and DNA Binding: A Molecular Dynamics and Protein Structure Network Study. PLoS Comput Biol. 2015 Dec 23;11(12):e1004500.

Ghosh S, Baloni P, Mukherjee S, Anand P, Chandra N. A multi-level multi-scale approach to study essential genes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. BMC Syst Biol. 2013 Dec 5;7:132.

Ghosh S, Prasad KV, Vishveshwara S, Chandra N. Rule-based modelling of iron homeostasis in tuberculosis. Mol Biosyst. 2011 Oct;7(10):2750-68.

Visit PubMed for a full list of publications.

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