Ian J. Glomski, PhD

Ian J. Glomski, PhD

Ian  J.  Glomski
Degree(s): PhD
Graduate School: University of California, Berkeley
Primary Appointment: Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology
Research Interests:
Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of B. anthracis pathogenesis; detection and prevention of anthrax.
Website:  http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/basic-science/departments/microbiology/faculty/microbiology-labs/glomski-lab
Email Address: ijg2b@virginia.edu

Research Description

INTRODUCTION: Bacillus anthracis is a spore forming Gram positive bacterial pathogen that causes the disease anthrax. Infection can occur via three different routes, gastro-intestinal, cutaneous, or inhalational. Bacterial spores introduced by each route have different levels of virulence and different hallmarks of disease. Systemic disease is associated with both toxemia and sepcemia; where two secreted toxins, lethal toxin and edema toxin, are responsible for toxemia, and encapsulation, which reduces phagocytosis by host defense cells, is responsible for sepcemia. B. anthracis gained public notoriety when it was used as a bioweapon in the United States postal system in the autumn of 2001, but it has long been feared for its devastation of livestock herds and as an agent of zoonotic infectious disease from domesticated animals.

Images of mice infected with an aerosol of
bioluminescent Bacillus anthracis
at the indicated times.

Thanks to a highly effective animal vaccine anthrax is very rare in the developed world. Yet because anthrax was considered a “beaten” disease, thanks to this efficacious veterinary vaccine, relatively little attention has been paid to the basic molecular mechanisms of how this bacterium causes disease. Thus, surprisingly little is known about how B. anthracis causes pathology (or pathogenesis) in an infected host.

OUR RESEARCH: Our laboratory’s goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of B. anthracis pathogenesis and use this knowledge to guide research towards better means of detection and prevention of anthrax. We advance these goals by using techniques derived from bacterial genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, and tissue culture and animal models of disease. Our past projects have focused on: 1) innate immune responses to B. anthracis spores, 2) the mechanisms of immune protection granted by vaccination with an experimental vaccine, and 3) the development of real-time small animal models of infection using bioluminescent bacteria that can be detected within infected animals (see photos and references). Future projects will expand upon these themes, but also include greater concentration on revealing the contribution of bacterial factors in B. anthracis pathogenesis.


Selected Publications

Corre JP, Piris-Gimenez A, Moya-Nilges M, Jouvion G, Fouet A, Glomski IJ, Mock M, Sirard JC, Goossens PL.  In Vivo Germination of Bacillus anthracis Spores During Murine Cutaneous Infection. J Infect Dis. 2013 Feb;207(3):450-7. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jis686. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

Dey R, Hoffman PS, Glomski IJ.  Germination and amplification of anthrax spores by soil-dwelling amoebas. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Nov;78(22):8075-81. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02034-12. Epub 2012 Sep 14.

Weiner ZP, Glomski IJ.  Updating perspectives on the initiation of Bacillus anthracis growth and dissemination through its host. Infect Immun. 2012 May;80(5):1626-33. doi: 10.1128/IAI.06061-11. Epub 2012 Feb 21. Review.

Lowe DE, Glomski IJ.  Cellular and physiological effects of anthrax exotoxin and its relevance to disease. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2012;2:76. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2012.00076. Epub 2012 Jun 1.

Weiner ZP, Boyer AE, Gallegos-Candela M, Cardani AN, Barr JR, Glomski IJ.  Debridement increases survival in a mouse model of subcutaneous anthrax. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e30201. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030201. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

Crawford MA, Lowe DE, Fisher DJ, Stibitz S, Plaut RD, Beaber JW, Zemansky J, Mehrad B, Glomski IJ, Strieter RM, Hughes MA.  Identification of the bacterial protein FtsX as a unique target of chemokine-mediated antimicrobial activity against Bacillus anthracis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 11;108(41):17159-64. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1108495108. Epub 2011 Sep 26.

PubMed link for faculty member


Contact Information
Office Address: PO Box 800734 Room 7231,
Office Phone: 434-924-2812, 434-924-2899
Fax Phone: 434-982-1071