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  Home > VBS Faculty > Richard Isaacson

Richard Isaacson

Dick Isaacson



e-mail: isaac015@umn.edu

300B Veterinary Science
1971 Commonwealth Avenue
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108



B.S., Zoology, University of Illinois

M.S., Microbiology, University of Illinois

Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Illinois


Research Interests

My laboratory is studying the molecular basis of pathogenesis of two pathogens: Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. A common theme in each project is the identification of unique genes required for pathogenesis, understanding the functions of those genes, and determining the mechanisms controlling their expression. Our studies on S. enterica serovar Typhimurium are directed toward an understanding of the mechanism whereby S. Typhimurium can persistently infect pigs, yet not cause disease. We have isolated two phenotypic variants one of which can attach to porcine villous epithelial cells and the other cannot. Using RNASeq we identified 85 genes that were up regulated in the adhesive phenotype. We also identified a gene, lrhA, which increases the rate of phase variation from the non-adhesive to the adhesive phenotype. Our work on E. coli nosocomial septicemia has employed in vivo gene expression technology to identify genes exclusively expressed during disease. In the collection of identified genes are 9 unique genes that are mainly present in other pathogenic strains that cause urinary tract infections and sepsis. Mutations in each of these genes resulted in attenuation of the E. coli strain in vivo. One gene has been characterized as part of a novel iron transport system, term Fit. In a third project, we are studying microbial population shifts in the intestines of pigs in response to treatment with an antimicrobial growth promoter to determine if there are shifts microbiome of treated pigs. A major conclusion from this work is that tylosin may accelerate the maturation of the adult gut microbiome and this facilitates growth promotion. We also are assessing the microbiota in the lungs of patients who have had lung transplants and those that have chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD). Both patient groups had different lung microbiomes and each had greater diversity of microbes compared to healthy patients.

Selected Publications

(For a comprehensive list of Dr. Isaacson's recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)

Kim, H.B., Borewicz, K., White, B.A., Singer, R.S., Sreevatsan, S., Tu, Z, J., Isaacson, R.E. Longitudinal investigation of the age-related bacterial diversity in the feces of commercial pigs. Veterinary Microbiology (2011) doi:10.1016/j.vetmic.2011.05.021.

Danzeisen, J. L., Kim, H. B., Isaacson, R. E., Tu, Z. J., Johnson, T. J. Modulations of the Chicken Cecal Microbiome and Metagenome in Response to Anticoccidial and Growth Promoter Treatment. PLOS One, 6: 1-14 (2011).

Shepard, S., Danzeisen, J., Isaacson, R., Seemann, T., Achtman, M., and Johnson, T. Genome Sequences and Phylogenetic Analysis of K88- and F18-Positive Porcine Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. J. Bacteriology, 194:395-405 (2012).

Isaacson, R. and Kim, H. B. The intestinal microbiome of the pig. Animal Health Research Reviews 13:100-109 (2012).

Patterson, S. K, Borewicz, K., Johnson, T. Xu, W., and Isaacson, R. E. Characterization and differential gene expression between two phenotypic phase variants in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. PLoS One, 11: e43592( 2012).

Kim , H.B., Borewicz ,K., White, B.A, Singer, R.S., Sreevatsan, S., Tu, Z. J., and Isaacson, R. E. Microbial shifts in the swine distal gut in response to the treatment with antimicrobial growth promoter, tylosin. PNAS 109: 15485 (2012).

Pragman, A.A., Kim, H.B., Reilly, C.S., Wendt, C., and Isaacson, R.E. The lung microbiome in moderate and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. PLoS One, 7(10): e47305 (2012).

Borewicz, K., Prgaman, A. A., Kim, H.B., Hertz, M., Wendt, C., and Isaacson, R.E. Longitudinal analysis of the lung microbiome in lung transplantation. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 2012 Nov 22. doi: 10.1111/1574-6968.12053.

Schachtschneider, K. M., Yeoman, C. J., Isaacson, R. E., White, B. A., Schook, L. B., Pieters, M. Modulation of systemic immune responses through commensal gastrointestinal microbiota. PLoS One 8(1) e53969 (2013).

Kim, H.B., Singer, R.S., Borewicz, K., White, B.A., Sreevatsan, S., Johnson, T.J., Espejo, L.A., and Isaacson, R.E. Effects of the antibiotic tylosin on C-reactive protein levels and carriage of Salmonella enterica in the pig. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 75: 460 (2014).

Lamont, E. A., Wang, P., Enomoto, S., Borewicz, B., Abdallah, A., Isaacson, R., and Sreevatsan, S. A Combined Enrichment and Aptamer Pulldown Assay for Francisella tularensis Detection in Food and Environmental Matrices, PLoS One, 9(12): e114622. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114622 (2014).

Park, H-J., Lee, S-E., Kim, H.B., Isaacson, R.E., Seo, K-S., and Song, K-H. Effects of Obesity on Leptin, Adiponectin, and Serotonin Levels and Gut Microflora in Beagle Dogs. J. Vet Int. Med. 29: 43 (2015).

Pragman, A.A., Kim, H.B., Reilly, C.S., Wendt, C., and Isaacson, R.E. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease lung microbiota diversity may be mediated by age or inhaled-corticosteroid use. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 53 (3):1050 (2015).

Current Funding

Academic Health Center Faculty Research Development Grant. Mechanisms driving the success of the globally emergent ST131 ExPEC, CoPI.
USDA, NIFA/AFRI. Infection of pigs with Salmonella and Lawsonia increases public health risk, PI
USDA, NIFA/AFRI. Systems Approach to Identifying Targeted Interventions for Minimizing Antibiotic Resistance in the Poultry Production System, CoPI.

Current Students

Fernando Leite








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