• I joined UAB in March 2020 as an Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care in the Department of Medicine. Before moving to Birmingham, I was a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Jennifer Bomberger’s lab at the University of Pittsburgh, where I began my work on host-pathogen interactions in the respiratory tract using airway epithelial cell co-culture models. Prior to this, I worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Jo Handelsman at Yale University studying factors required for bacterial persistence and competition in the gut. I earned my PhD in Microbiology from the University of Iowa in Dr. Alex Horswill's lab studying Staphylococcus aureus biofilms, and my thesis focused on how biofilm growth and development is regulated by the production of extracellular nucleases that modify the biofilm matrix. I am originally from Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an undergraduate, where I majored in Medical Microbiology and Immunology and worked in the lab of Dr. Joseph Dillard, studying Neisseria gonorrhoeae pathogenicity islands. I am interested in the interactions that take place between bacteria and the host over the course of chronic respiratory infections, especially in polymicrobial environments, and how the complex interplay of signals from other bacterial community members and the host environment impacts behavior and evolution of bacterial pathogens in the airways.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2022 Acute Infection with a Tobramycin-Induced Small Colony Variant of Staphylococcus aureus Causes Increased Inflammation in the Cystic Fibrosis Rat LungInfection and Immunity.  19. 2022
    2022 Low Diversity and Instability of the Sinus Microbiota over Time in Adults with Cystic FibrosisMicrobiology Spectrum.  10. 2022
    2021 A genome-wide association study of severe asthma exacerbations in Latino children and adolescentsEuropean Respiratory Journal.  57. 2021
    2018 Viral-Bacterial Co-infections in the Cystic Fibrosis Respiratory TractFrontiers in Immunology.  9. 2018
    2018 Staphylococcus aureus biofilm growth on cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cells is enhanced during respiratory syncytial virus coinfectionClinical and Vaccine Immunology.  3. 2018
    2016 Development of an in vitro colonization model to investigate Staphylococcus aureus interactions with airway epitheliaCellular Microbiology.  18:720-732. 2016
    2016 Simultaneous antibiofilm and antiviral activities of an engineered antimicrobial peptide during virus-bacterium coinfectionClinical and Vaccine Immunology.  1. 2016
    2015 Accumulation-associated protein enhances Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm formation under dynamic conditions and is required for infection in a rat catheter modelInfection and Immunity.  83:214-226. 2015
    2015 Enterococcus faecalis 6-phosphogluconolactonase is required for both commensal and pathogenic interactions with Manduca sextaInfection and Immunity.  83:396-404. 2015
    2015 The effects of repetitive vibration on sensorineural function: Biomarkers of sensorineural injury in an animal model of metabolic syndromeBrain Research.  1627:216-224. 2015
    2014 Staphylococcus aureus Nuc2 is a functional, surface-attached extracellular nucleasePLoS One.  9. 2014
    2014 Quantification of confocal images of biofilms grown on irregular surfacesJournal of Microbiological Methods.  100:111-120. 2014
    2013 Staphylococcus aureus nuclease is an SaeRS-dependent virulence factorInfection and Immunity.  81:1316-1324. 2013
    2013 Reduced vancomycin susceptibility in an in vitro catheter-related biofilm model correlates with poor therapeutic outcomes in experimental endocarditis due to methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureusAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.  57:1447-1454. 2013
    2011 Nuclease modulates biofilm formation in community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureusPLoS One.  6. 2011
    2011 New approaches for treating staphylococcal biofilm infectionsAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences.  1241:104-121. 2011
    2009 Vibration disrupts vascular function in a model of metabolic syndromeIndustrial Health.  47:533-542. 2009

    Research Overview

  • My research program is focused on investigating innate immune-bacterial interactions in the respiratory tract. I am especially interested in pursuing studies of Gram-positive bacterial species, including pathogens and commensal organisms, and their role in microbial community development. I am broadly interested in how the epithelial innate immune response impacts individual microbes and populations of microbes in multi-species communities, influencing bacterial pathogenicity and persistence. In my studies, I use airway epithelial cell co-culture models to investigate host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions occurring in polymicrobial respiratory infections. Next-generation sequencing approaches, including whole-genome sequencing of clinical isolates and dual host-pathogen RNA sequencing, allow my laboratory to investigate bacterial evolution during infection and to evaluate transcriptomic changes occurring in both the airway epithelium and bacterial pathogens during co-infections. I will use these techniques to evaluate how pathogens and commensal microbes sense and respond to changes in host immune status and will seek to further develop new model systems for investigating host-polymicrobial interactions. By examining the crosstalk occurring between microbes at the mucosal interface, I hope to make significant contributions towards our understanding of how changes in the host environment impact complex bacterial communities and affect disease progression.
  • Teaching Overview

  • My goal as a scientific educator is to impart knowledge of key concepts in microbiology and immunology while guiding trainees to develop skills for thinking critically and scientifically in their to approach to problem solving. I have experience teaching biology and microbiology at the undergraduate, graduate and medical student levels at previous institutions and have enjoyed training undergraduates and research technicians in the laboratory. While a postdoc at Yale University, I trained as a Scientific Teaching Fellow and gained skills in scientific teaching practices. At UAB, I will make it a priority to create an inclusive classroom that engages diverse students of all learning styles by utilizing a variety of teaching practices and providing students with the opportunity to both develop skills as independent thinkers and benefit from working in groups and learning from their peers. I have been involved at UAB as a faculty facilitator for GRD717, The Principles of Scientific Integrity, and I look forward to interacting with students and fellows in future courses and in the laboratory.
  • Education And Training

  • University of Pittsburgh Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Yale University Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology, University of Iowa 2012
  • Full Name

  • Megan Kiedrowski