Thomas H Kawula, PhD

Thomas H. Kawula, Ph.D.


6210 Marsico Hall, CB #7290





Our research focuses on elucidating pathogenic mechanisms of the Gram negative bacterial pathogen Francisella tularensis. Specific attention is given to mechanisms that engage the host and subvert host innate and adaptive immune responses. To achieve these goals the lab develops and adapts genetic systems to manipulate the bacteria and to identify and analyze the contributions of specific genetic loci to the infectious process. Models that recapitulate naturally occurring disease are developed and used to study in-depth the intricacies of host – pathogen interactions that define the mechanisms behind bacterial virulence, adaptation and the host response.


Brunton, J., S. Steele, B. Ziehr, N. Moorman, T. Kawula.  2013.  Feeding Uninvited Guests; mTOR and AMPK Set the Table for Intracellular Pathogens.  PLoS PathogensPEARL. doi/10.1371/journal.ppat.1003552

Steele, SP, JC Brunton, BJ Ziehr, SA Taft-Benz, NJ Moorman and TH Kawula.  2013. Francisella tularensis harvests nutrients via ATG5-independent autophagy to support intracellular growth.   PLoS Pathog  9(8): e1003562. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003562

Barrigan, LM, S Tuladhar, J Brunton, MD. Woolard, TH Kawula, and JA. Frelinger.  2013 Infection with Francisella tularensis LVS clpB Leads to an Altered yet Protective Immune Response.  Infect. Immun.  81(6):2028-42.  Doi: 10.1128/IAI.00207-13.  PMID: 23529616

Woolard, MD, LM Barrigan, JR. Fuller, AS. Buntzman, J Bryan, C Manoil, TH Kawula and JA. Frelinger.  2013.  Identification of Francisella novicida mutants that fail to induce prostaglandin E2 synthesis by infected macrophages.  Frontiers in Microbial Immunology. 2013;4:16. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00016.  PMID23403609

Miller, CN, ED LoVullo, TM Kijek, JR Fuller, SA Taft-Benz, AR Richardson and TH Kawula.  2013.  PanG, A New Ketopantoate Reductase Involved in Pantothenate Synthesis.  J. Bacteriol. 195:965-76. PMID23243306

LoVullo, ED, CN Miller, MS Pavelka Jr., and TH Kawula.  2012.  TetR-based Gene Regulation Systems for Francisella tularensis.  Applied and Environmental Micro. 78 (19):6883 – 9. PMID:2282033

Mortensen, BL, JR Fuller, S Taft-Benz, EJ Collins, and TH Kawula.  2012.  Francisella tularensis RipA protein topology and identification of functional domains. J. Bacteriol. 194: 1474-84. PMID:22267515

Valentino, MD, ZJ Maben, LL Hensley, MD Woolard, TH Kawula, JA Frelinger, and JG Frelinger. 2011. Identification of T cell epitopes in Francisella tularensis SchuS4 using a protein array of serologic targets. Immunology. Mar;132(3):348-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2010.03387.x. PMID: 21214540

Mortensen BL, JR. Fuller, S Taft-Benz, TM Kijek, CN Miller, MTH Huang, JD Hall, and TH Kawula. 2010. The effects of the putative transcriptional regulator IclR on Francisella tularensis pathogenesis. Infection and Immunity. 78:5022-32. PMID:20921140

Huang, MT, BL Mortensen, DJ Taxman, R Craven, S Taft-Benz, T Keijek, JR Fuller, BK Davis, IC Allen, W Brickey, D Gris, HT Wen, TH Kawula*+, and JP Ting*+ (co-sr. authors). 2010. Deletion of ripA alleviates suppression of the inflammasome and MAP kinase by Francisella tularensis. Journal of Immunology. 185:5476-85. PMID: 20921527

*Fuller, JR., TM. Kijek, S. Taft-Benz, and TH. Kawula. Environmental and intracellular regulation of Francisella tularensis ripA. 2009. BMC-Microbiology Oct 12;9:216. PMID: 19821974.

Williams, JC, RR. Craven, TH. Kawula and GK. Matsushima. TAM receptors are dispensable in the phagocytosis and killing of bacteria. 2009. Cellular Immunology 259(2):128-34. PMID: 19625016

Hall, J.D., Kurtz, S.L., Rigel, N.W., Gunn, B.M., Taft-Benz, S., Morrison, J.P., Fong, A.M., Patel. D.D., Braunstein, M., and Kawula, T.H. (2009). The impact of chemokine receptor CX3CR1 deficiency during respiratory infections with Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Francisella tularensis. Clinical and Experimental Immunology. 156: 278-84. PMID: 19250281

Valention, MD, Hensley, LI, Skrombolas, D, McPherson, PL, Woolard, MD, Kawula TH, Frelinger JA, and Frelinger JG. Identification of a dominant CD4 T cell epitope in the membrane lipoprotein Tul4 from Francisella tularensis LVS. Molecular Immunology. 2009. 46(8-9):1830-8. PMID: 19233475

Hall JD, Woolard MD, Gunn BM, Craven RR, Taft-Benz S, Frelinger JA, Kawula, TH. Infected-host-cell repertoire and cellular response in the lung following inhalation of Francisella tularensis Schu S4, LVS, or U112. Infect Immun. 2008. Dec;76(12):5843-52. PMID: 18852251

**Fuller JR, Craven RR, Hall JD, Kijek TM, Taft-Benz S, Kawula TH. RipA, a cytoplasmic membrane protein conserved among Francisella species, is required for intracellular survival. Infect Immun. 2008. 76(11):4934-43. PMID: 18765722

Craven RR, Hall JD, Fuller JR, Taft-Benz S, Kawula TH. Francisella tularensis invasion of lung epithelial cells. Infect Immun. 2008. 76(7):2833-42. PMID: 18426871

Complete list of publications