St. Geme Laboratory



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The St. Geme Laboratory's research focus is bacterial pathogenesis, with particular emphasis on gram-negative bacteria that transition from a state of commensalism in the upper respiratory tract to either localized or invasive disease.

The lab concentrates on H. influenzae and K. kingae as model pathobionts. H. influenzae is a common cause of respiratory tract disease, sepsis, and meningitis, and K. kingae appears to be the most common etiology of osteomyelitis and septic arthritis in young children and is an important cause of endocarditis.

The St. Geme Lab's long-term goals are to identify candidate vaccine antigens and to elucidate common mechanisms in bacterial pathogenesis that will serve as targets for new antimicrobials with activity against of a wide range of pathogenic gram-negative bacteria.


Project Highlights

Some of the current major projects in the St. Geme Lab include:

  • Kingella kingae pathogenicity – understanding the interrelationship of type IV pili, the Knh autotransporter, and the RTX toxin as colonization and virulence factors
  • Haemophilus influenzae pathogenicity and vaccine development – understanding the roles of the HMW1/HMW2 adhesins, the Hia/Hsf adhesins, and the Hap adhesin in pathogenesis and as potential vaccine antigens
  • Kingella kingae extracellular polysaccharides – characterizing the biosynthesis, secretion, and functions of the capsular polysaccharides, lipopolysaccharide, and exopolysaccharides
  • Bacterial protein secretion – characterizing type V secretion, including secretion of two-partner secretion proteins, conventional autotransporters, and trimeric autotransporters
  • Relationship between Haemophilus influenzae colonization and asthma – understanding the mechanism of early colonization with H. influenzae in the pathogenesis of asthma.
Joseph W. St. Geme

Joseph W. St. Geme, III, MD

Chair, Department of Pediatrics
Dr. St. Geme's research focuses on bacterial pathogenesis, with an emphasis on defining the molecular and cellular determinants of Haemophilus influenzae and Kingella kingae disease.