Natasha Medici

M.S., 2013, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
B.S., 2010, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
PhD., 2019
Advisor: James Bliska

Research Interests

In my work, I study a specific class of toxins, named RhoA-modifying toxins. They are known to inactivate the same protein in the host cell, known as RhoA GTPases. The inactivation of this important protein leads to disturbances in cell shape and cell mobility, which is detrimental for the host. Many important bacterial pathogens secrete RhoA modifying toxins. Among them, we focus our research on two toxins of Yersinia spp., historically known to cause the Plague and which still causes small outbreaks in some Countries. We also study two toxins of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an important drug-resistant pathogen that affects compromised patients, such as those with Cystic Fibrosis. Our goal is to show that although secreted by different pathogens, those toxins lead to the same conserved response in immune cells, like macrophages. Our work sheds light in the understanding of those deadly bacteria and gives us knowledge to create new means to combat their harsh effects.

Honors and Awards

Laspau – Latin America Scholarship Program of American Science Without Borders Program Scholarship for Graduate Studies, Sep 2014 – Sep 2018


Loeven, N.A., Medici, N.P., and Bliska, J.B. (2020). The pyrin inflammasome in host-microbe interactions. Current Opinions in Microbiology 54: 77-86.

Medici, N., Rashid, M., and Bliska, J.B. (2019). Characterization of pyrin dephosphorylation and inflammasome activation in macrophages as triggered by the Yersinia effectors YopE and YopT. Infection and Immunity, 87(3). pii: e00822-18. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00822-18.

Medici, N.P. & Bliska, J.B. (2019). Methods for detection of pyrin inflammasome assembly in macrophages infected with Yersinia spp. Biology of Yersinia Infection, Methods in Molecular Biology Protocols edition, Vol 2010. Springer Nature. In press.

Medici, N.P. and Del Poeta, M. (2015). New Insights on the development of fungal vaccines: from immunity to recent challenges. Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 110(8): 966-973.



Medici, N., Chung, L.K., Chae, J.J., and Bliska, J.B. (2017). Studies of Yersinia Effector-triggered Pyrin Inflammasome Activation in Macrophages. ASM Microbe, June 1 - 5, New Orleans, LA.

Medici, N., and Bliska, J.B. (2018). Studies on Bacterial Toxins and Their Regulation of Host Immune System. April 6, Showcasing Women's Research in STEM. Graduate Women in Science and Engineering, Stony Brook University.

Medici, N., Rashid, M., and Bliska, J.B. (2018). Characterization of Pyrin Dephosphorylation and Inflammasome Activation in Macrophages as Triggered by the Yersinia Effectors YopE and YopT. Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Toxins and Pathogenicity, July 8-13, Waterville Valley, NH.

Medici, N.P., and Bliska, J.B. (2019). Studies on Bacterial RhoA Modifying Toxins and their Regulation of the Pyrin Inflammasome. 2019 Symposium on Harnessing Immunity to Combat Infection and Disease, April 29, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY.