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Glenn T Werneburg, Ph.D.

Glenn Werneburg

B.S., 2010, Stony Brook University
Ph.D., 2016, Stony Brook University

Advisor: Dr. David Thanassi
Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

Current Position

Clinical phase of the Medical Scientist Training Program at Stony Brook University

Research Interests

Glenn is an MD/PhD student in the Molecular Genetics & Microbiology Graduate Program. Glenn's research focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which bacteria cause disease. Specifically, Glenn has been working on the chaperone/usher (CU) secretion system in Escherichia coli. This secretion system is the pathway by which bacteria assemble and secrete structures, termed pili, onto their surfaces. Uropathogenic strains of E. coli use pili to adhere to human kidneys and bladder, causing urinary tract infections (UTIs). Because clinical treatments for UTIs are becoming less and less effective due to bacterial resistance, development of new clinical therapeutics is crucial. Glenn has made important advances in his field including the discovery of a new mechanism by which the CU pathway is maintained in an inactive state, until it is selectively mobilized. This mechanism likely serves to ensure that pili are assembled correctly, and that their adhesive portion is always located at their tip, in a position to adhere to the urinary tract and cause UTI. These findings open up new avenues for the exploration of therapeutic interventions. For example, drugs that maintain the usher in its inactivated state, by a similar mechanism to the one Glenn has discovered, could hold promise as effective treatments for UTIs.

Select Honors and Awards

NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Predoctoral NRSA for MD/PhD Fellowships (F30), 2014-2018

Travel Award, Central Society for Clinical and Translational Research Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 2015

Poster Award, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Annual Retreat, 2015

Travel Award, American Physician Scientists Association / Association of American Physicians / American Society for Clinical Investigation National Meeting, Chicago, IL, 2014

Distinguished Travel Award from Stony Brook University Graduate School and Graduate Student Organization to attend Gordon Research Conference on Bacterial Cell Surfaces, Mt. Snow, VT, 2014

Poster Award, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Annual Retreat, 2014

Select Publications

Du, M., Yuan, Z., Yu, H., Henderson, N., Sarowar, S., Zhao, G., Werneburg, G.T., Thanassi, D.G., and Li, H. (2018). Handover mechanism of the growing pilus by the bacterial outer-membrane usher FimB. Nature, in press.

Werneburg, G.T., and Thanassi, D.G. 2018. Pili assembled by the chaperone/usher pathway in Escherichia coli and Salmonella. EcoSal Plus 8(1). doi 10.1128.

Pham, T., Henderson, N.S., Werneburg, G.T., Thanassi, D.G., and Delcour, A.H. 2016. Electrostatic networks control plug stabilization in the PapC usher. Molecular Membrane Biology 16: 1-10.

Pham, T., Werneburg, G.T., Henderson, N.S., Thanassi, D.G., and Delcour, A.H. 2016. Effect of chaperone-adhesin complex on plug release by the PapC usher. FEBS Letters 590(14): 2172-2190.

Sarowar, S., Hu, J., Werneburg, G.T., Thanassi, D.G., and Li, H. 2016. The Escherichia coli P and type 1 pilus assembly chaperones PapD and FimC are monomeric in solution. Journal of Bacteriology 198(17): 2360-2390.

Werneburg GT, Henderson NS, Portnoy EB, Sarowar S, Hultgren SJ, Li H, and DG Thanassi. 2015. The pilus usher controls protein interactions via domain masking and is functional as an oligomer. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 22:540-546. [PMCID: PMC4496297]

Presentations

Werneburg, G. Dissection of Usher-Chaperone-Subunit Interactions during Pilus Biogenesis in Escherichia coli. Provost’s Graduate Student Lecture Series. March 24, 2016, Stony Brook, NY.