Skip to main content

Contact Information

Duke University
3 Genome Court; DUMC Box 103054

MSRB3 40124 (lab 3250)
Durham, NC 27710

Website Links



Associate Professor
Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology
School of Medicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research Summary

We study how the immune system combats intracellular pathogens. The most direct mechanism to reverse intracellular replication is to trigger programmed cell death. Our laboratory has long focused on pyroptotic cell death, which is triggered when inflammasomes detect pathogens, activate caspase-1 or caspase-11, thereby initiating the gasdermin D pore to cause pyroptosis. We have described how inflammasomes detect pathogens, and how pyroptosis results in their destruction. We are now expanding to consider other forms of programmed cell death, both cell intrinsic as well as cell death initiated by natural killer cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes.  We study a variety of bona fide bacterial pathogens that typically evade immune defenses (e.g. Salmonella and Listeria) and compare these to environmental pathogens where immune defenses confer perfect elimination of the pathogen (e.g. Burkholderia and Chromobacterium).

Relevance of Research to CGIBD Mission: Most of the pathogens we study target the intestines or other digestive organs for infection. For example, Salmonella and Listeria cause intestinal infection, and we are studying the role of programmed cell death in defense in the intestine. We also have a strong interest in liver (a digestive organ that feeds directly into the intestines via bile secretion.  Among our chief interests are Listeria and Chromobacterium, which are highly tropic for liver infection. The Miao lab is a former CGIBD pilot/feasibility recipient, and collaborates with several CGIBD members.

CGIBD Focus Area(s):  Microbiome

Collaborators:  Carroll, Fodor, Hansen, Sartor, Ting