NTM Basic and Translational Research Center

The NTM Basic and Translational Research Center, within the Mycobacteria Research Laboratories (MRL) at Colorado State University, builds on the expertise of 13 Faculty. The MRL, founded in 1986, is an internationally recognized research and training center. With access to exceptional facilities and resources, the center leads fundamental and translational research to understand mycobacterial diseases and pathogens, and innovate models of disease, diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

Our team of experts is available to discuss your NTM research needs, whether they aim to address fundamental research questions or are related to drug and vaccine testing, diagnostics/biomarker development, or the study of mechanisms of drug susceptibility and drug resistance in NTM.

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Faculty

Mercedes Gonzalez-Juarrero, Ph.D.

Professor

Mercedes Gonzalez-Juarrero’s NTM research focuses on in vivo models of NTM infection, including immune responses induced and imaging, and drug efficacy testing in vitro and in vivo (systemic and aerosol delivery).

Mary Jackson, Ph.D.

Professor

Mary Jackson’s laboratory has expertise in NTM genetics and physiology, including cell envelope biochemistry, biofilms and understanding the mechanisms of susceptibility and resistance of NTM to antimicrobial compounds.

Marcela Henao-Tamayo, M.D., Ph.D.

Monfort Associate Professor

Marcela Henao-Tamayo’s NTM research focuses on vaccine testing using in vivo models of NTM infection; compound efficacy testing in vivo; and cellular and humoral immune response evaluation (ELISAS, Flow Cytometry, single cell RNA sequencing, spatial transcriptomics).

Brendan Podell, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.A.C.V.P.

Assistant Professor

Brendan Podell is a board-certified veterinary anatomic pathologist. The Podell laboratory emphasizes the use of advanced pathology methods in mycobacterial research, including immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, as a companion to standard histopathology interpretation.

Karen Dobos, Ph.D.

Professor

Karen Dobos’ laboratory is interested in studying alternate routes of transmission of NTM, especially the role of vectors in transmission and/or environmental maintenance of NTMs (notably, M. ulcerans). In addition, Dr. Dobos’ laboratory enjoys working collaboratively to assist with identification and characterization of NTM factors engaged in host-pathogen interactions, and work with BEI to support the provision of NTM derived reagents to researchers around the globe.

Delphi Chatterjee, Ph.D.

Professor

Delphi Chatterjee’ s research group focuses on biomarker discovery and validation in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients who are coinfected with NTM infection. The long-term goal is to deliver validated markers of NTM disease to the CF patient population, with applicability to all patient populations at risk for NTM disease.

Carolina Mehaffy, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Carolina Mehaffy’s laboratory is interested in the isolation and characterization of NTM from environmental sources. Dr. Mehaffy further has extensive experience in the design of targeted and untargeted proteomics studies.

Examples of Services Offered

Vaccine evaluation in animal models (route of vaccination I.D., S.C., I.V., aerosol)

Drug efficacy testing in vitro (MIC, MBC), in cellular models and in animal models of NTM infection (aerosol delivery of liquid and dry powders formulations and systemic delivery)

Sampling for pharmacokinetics studies

Drug-drug interactions

Mechanism of action of therapeutics

Virulence and pathogenicity studies

Discovery and validation of biomarkers of NTM infection

Genomics (on in vitro-grown NTM and NTM directly recovered from infected tissues); Transcriptomics (RNAseq; RT-qPCR); Targeted and untargeted Proteomics and Metabolomics

Analyses of cell envelope lipids, proteins and (lipo)polysaccharides

Biofilm assays

Analysis of immune responses to infection and to vaccination:

  • Flow Cytometry
  • Cytokine and chemokine evaluation using CBA and Luminex
  • Antibody evaluation by ELISA
  • Single Cell mRNAseq analysis (unfixed and fixed cells)
  • Spatial transcriptomics (fixed tissue)

Histopathology and immunohistochemistry:

  • Tissue handling and preparation for histopathology
  • Histology slide preparation and histochemical staining, including processing, embedding, H&E staining, acid-fast staining; all for formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues or OCT-embedded tissues with cryo-sectioning
  • Immunohistochemistry – standard DAB and FastRed chromogenic IHC, multiplexed fluorescent IHC with Opal chemistry; all automated on a Leica Bond RXm platform
  • In situ hybridization by RNAScope – host target panels up 4 mRNA targets, or bacterial detection with rRNA targets; all automated on a Leica Bond RXm platform
  • Spatial transcriptomics – performance and analysis on OCT-embedded frozen tissue
  • Computational pathology data analysis including spatial statistical approaches and AI-based image analysis algorithm development and application
  • Pathologist interpretation of histopathology data sets, with or without computational pathology applications

Provision of NTM-derived reagents