Welcome to the Schneewind and Missiakas Labs
at the University of Chicago!

The research in our labs focus on:

Currently, we are investigating the following microbes:

Bacillus cereus sensu lato are aerobic, spore forming microbes replicating as vegetative forms in infected host tissues. We seek to understand the mechanisms whereby bacilli assemble their cell wall envelope including peptidoglycan, secondary cell wall polysaccharide, S-layer, surface proteins, pili, lipoteichoic acid and capsular material. Insights are being used to develop live-attenuated vaccine vehicles, subunit vaccines and therapeutics.

Staphylococcus aureus colonizes the nares, skin and intestinal tract of humans and domesticated animals causing skin and bloodstream infections. We seek to understand the mechanisms whereby staphylococci assemble their cell wall envelope with anchored proteins and teichoic acids, and capsular polysaccharide. Further, we are studying staphylococcal secreted products and their molecular attributes in providing escape from innate and adaptive host defenses.

Yersinia pathogenic to animals and humans include Y. enterocolitica and Y. pestis. Whilst Y. enterocolitica causes gastrointestinal infections in animals with fecal-oral transmission cycles, Y. pestis colonizes the gastrointestinal tract of fleas that transmit the pathogen by while feeding on mammals. We are trying to understand the molecular basis of Yersinia type III secretion, which transports Yop effects into mammalian immune cells and to develop vaccines that prevent this virulence strategy, proving protective immunity against plague disease.