Human Biology Division, Fred Hutch
Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutch
Dr. Penny E. Petersen Memorial Chair for Lymphoma Research
Basic Sciences Division, Fred Hutch
Director of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Graduate Program
Dr. Nina Salama studies Helicobacter pylori, a stomach bacterium that infects half the world’s population and is associated with ulcers and gastric cancer — the third leading cancer killer worldwide. Her team found that H. pylori’s unique corkscrew shape allows the bug to colonize the stomach by burrowing into the mucus lining where it is protected from the acidic environment. They found a set of key proteins responsible for the bacterium’s twisty form. H. pylori that lack these proteins cannot set up shop in the stomach, making these proteins possible new drug targets to prevent infection. Dr. Salama is trying to understand why only some people infected with H. pylori develop stomach cancer, and how genetic variations in the bacterium affect human disease and transmission. She also works to understand how a person’s immune response to the bug influences the course of their infection.
Ph.D., Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 1995
B.S., Honors Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1989
The mechanisms by which this bacterium can establish and maintain a chronic infection in the unusual environment of the human stomach and the molecular cross talk between the host and the bacteria during the decades long infection
H. pylori genomic diversity
Genetic Analysis of H. pylori virulence factors
Mechanistic studies of H. pylori virulence; Cell wall modification and cell shape; DNA metabolism
—Dr. Nina Salama
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