Jennifer Bomberger, PhD

  • Associate Director of the Program in Microbiology and Immunology (PMI) graduate program
  • Associate Professor, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Education & Training

  • Graduate School – Michigan State University – PhD – Cellular and Molecular Physiology
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship- Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth- Host-Pathogen Interactions

Research Grants

NIH Grants:  K99/R00, R01, R61/R33

Research Summary

Dr. Jennifer Bomberger’s research program examines mechanisms for microbial pathogenesis and the interaction between bacterial and viral pathogens in the respiratory tract, particularly in the pathogenesis of chronic lung diseases, like cystic fibrosis (CF). Many clinical studies show a strong correlation for respiratory virus infection with the acquisition of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in CF patients. Dr. Bomberger’s recent publications provide compelling evidence that respiratory viral infections, and the antiviral immune response to them, drive P. aeruginosa to transition from acute to chronic infection. Dr. Bomberger’s laboratory is now examining the molecular mechanisms that govern respiratory virus-induced P. aeruginosa biofilm formation. Bacteria and viruses are exceptionally adept at exploiting host pathways to ensure their survival, and understanding this interplay is critical to combating diseases associated with microbial infection. Working to take her work from the bench to the bedside, Dr. Bomberger also collaborates with Dr. Stella Lee in Otolaryngology at UPMC to examine viral-bacterial interactions in the sinuses of patients with chronic lung disease. The goal of these studies is to examine the adaptation and transmission of P. aeruginosa between the upper and lower respiratory tracts during viral exacerbations. These studies include novel genomic approaches, in collaboration with Dr. Vaughn Cooper in MMG, to capture the P. aeruginosa diversity in both anatomical sites and determine if this is altered with a viral infection in a way that promotes disease progression. Dr. Bomberger’s long-term goal is to identify new therapeutic strategies to prevent chronic bacterial infections in the respiratory tract.

Representative Publications

  1. Dar HH, Tyurina YY, Mikulska-Ruminska K, Shrivastava I, Ting HC, Tyurin VA, Krieger J, St Croix CM, Watkins S, Bayir E, Mao G, Armbruster CR, Kapralov A, Wang H, Parsek MR, Anthonymuthu TS, Ogunsola AF, Flitter BA, Freedman CJ, Gaston JR, Holman TR, Pilewski JM, Greenberger JS, Mallampalli RK, Doi Y, Lee JS, Bahar I, Bomberger JM, Bayır H, Kagan VE. Pseudomonas aeruginosa utilizes host polyunsaturated phosphatidylethanolamines to trigger theft-ferroptosis in bronchial epithelium. J Clin Invest. 2018 Oct 1;128(10):4639-4653. doi: 10.1172/JCI99490. Epub 2018 Sep 10. PubMed PMID: 30198910; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6159971.
  2. Kiedrowski MR, Gaston JR, Kocak BR, Coburn SL, Lee S, Pilewski JM, Myerburg MM, Bomberger JM. Staphylococcus aureus Biofilm Growth on Cystic Fibrosis Airway Epithelial Cells Is Enhanced during Respiratory Syncytial Virus Coinfection. mSphere. 2018 Aug 15;3(4). pii: e00341-18. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00341-18. PubMed PMID: 30111629; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6094059.
  3. Purcaro G, Rees CA, Melvin JA, Bomberger JM, Hill JE. Volatile fingerprinting of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and respiratory syncytial virus infection in an in vitro cystic fibrosis co-infection model. J Breath Res. 2018 Jul 3;12(4):046001. doi: 10.1088/1752-7163/aac2f1. PubMed PMID: 29735804; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6057612.
  4. Qu Y, Olonisakin T, Bain W, Zupetic J, Brown R, Hulver M, Xiong Z, Tejero J, Shanks RM, Bomberger JM, Cooper VS, Zegans ME, Ryu H, Han J, Pilewski J, Ray A, Cheng Z, Ray P, Lee JS. Thrombospondin-1 protects against pathogen-induced lung injury by limiting extracellular matrix proteolysis. JCI Insight. 2018 Feb 8;3(3). pii: 96914. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.96914. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29415890; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5821195.
  5. Melvin JA, Gaston JR, Phillips SN, Springer MJ, Marshall CW, Shanks RMQ, Bomberger JM. Pseudomonas aeruginosa Contact-Dependent Growth Inhibition Plays Dual Role in Host-Pathogen Interactions. mSphere. 2017 Nov 15;2(6). pii: e00336-17. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00336-17. eCollection 2017 Nov-Dec. PubMed PMID: 29152577; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5687917.
  6. Hvorecny KL, Dolben E, Moreau-Marquis S, Hampton TH, Shabaneh TB, Flitter BA, Bahl CD, Bomberger JM, Levy BD, Stanton BA, Hogan DA, Madden DR. An epoxide hydrolase secreted by Pseudomonas aeruginosa decreases mucociliary transport and hinders bacterial clearance from the lung. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2018 Jan 1;314(1):L150-L156. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00383.2017. Epub 2017 Oct 5. PubMed PMID: 28982736; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5866430.
  7. Flitter BA, Hvorecny KL, Ono E, Eddens T, Yang J, Kwak DH, Bahl CD, Hampton TH, Morisseau C, Hammock BD, Liu X, Lee JS, Kolls JK, Levy BD, Madden DR, Bomberger JM. Pseudomonas aeruginosa sabotages the generation of host pro-resolving lipid mediators. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Jan 3;114(1):136-141. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1610242114. Epub 2016 Dec 15. PubMed PMID: 27980032; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5224368.
  8. Shrestha A, Hendricks MR, Bomberger JM, McClane BA. Bystander Host Cell Killing Effects of Clostridium perfringens Enterotoxin. MBio. 2016 Dec 13;7(6). pii: e02015-16. doi: 10.1128/mBio.02015-16. PubMed PMID: 27965452; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5156305.
  9. Zemke AC, Kocak BR, Bomberger JM. Sodium Nitrite Inhibits Killing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms by Ciprofloxacin. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2016 Dec 27;61(1). pii: e00448-16. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00448-16. Print 2017 Jan. PubMed PMID: 27799207; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5192113.
  10. Melvin JA, Bomberger JM. Compromised Defenses: Exploitation of Epithelial Responses During Viral-Bacterial Co-Infection of the Respiratory Tract. PLoS Pathog. 2016 Sep 15;12(9):e1005797. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005797. eCollection 2016 Sep. Review. PubMed PMID: 27631788; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5025022.
  11. Melvin JA, Montelaro RC, Bomberger JM. Clinical potential of engineered cationic antimicrobial peptides against drug-resistant biofilms. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2016 Nov;14(11):989-991. Epub 2016 Sep 22. PubMed PMID: 27626708; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5177990.
  12. Melvin JA, Lashua LP, Kiedrowski MR, Yang G, Deslouches B, Montelaro RC, Bomberger JM. Simultaneous Antibiofilm and Antiviral Activities of an Engineered Antimicrobial Peptide during Virus-Bacterium Coinfection. mSphere. 2016 May 4;1(3). pii: e00083-16. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00083-16. eCollection 2016 May-Jun. PubMed PMID: 27303744; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4888888.
  13. Lashua LP, Melvin JA, Deslouches B, Pilewski JM, Montelaro RC, Bomberger JM. Engineered cationic antimicrobial peptide (eCAP) prevents Pseudomonas aeruginosabiofilm growth on airway epithelial cells. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2016  Aug;71(8):2200-7. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkw143. Epub 2016 May 26. PubMed PMID: 27231279; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4954927.
  14. Deschamps JD, Ogunsola AF, Jameson JB 2nd, Yasgar A, Flitter BA, Freedman CJ, Melvin JA, Nguyen JV, Maloney DJ, Jadhav A, Simeonov A, Bomberger JM, Holman TR. Biochemical and Cellular Characterization and Inhibitor Discovery of Pseudomonas aeruginosa 15-Lipoxygenase. Biochemistry. 2016 Jun 14;55(23):3329-40. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.6b00338. Epub 2016 Jun 3. PubMed PMID: 27226387.
  15. Hendricks MR, Bomberger JM. Digging through the Obstruction: Insight into the Epithelial Cell Response to Respiratory Virus Infection in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis. J Virol. 2016 Apr 14;90(9):4258-4261. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01864-15. Print 2016 May. Review. PubMed PMID: 26865718; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4836329.
  16. Zemke AC, Bomberger JM. Microbiology: Social Suicide for a Good Cause. Curr Biol. 2016 Jan 25;26(2):R80-R82. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.018. PubMed PMID: 26811896.
  17. Hendricks MR, Lashua LP, Fischer DK, Flitter BA, Eichinger KM, Durbin JE, Sarkar SN, Coyne CB, Empey KM, Bomberger JM. Respiratory syncytial virus infection enhances Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm growth through dysregulation of nutritional immunity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Feb 9;113(6):1642-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1516979113. Epub 2016 Jan 4. PubMed PMID: 26729873; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4760822.
  18. Bahl CD, Hvorecny KL, Bomberger JM, Stanton BA, Hammock BD, Morisseau C, Madden DR. Inhibiting an Epoxide Hydrolase Virulence Factor from Pseudomonas aeruginosa Protects CFTR. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2015 Aug 17;54(34):9881-5. doi: 10.1002/anie.201503983. Epub 2015 Jul 1. PubMed PMID: 26136396; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4556431.
  19. Zemke AC, Gladwin MT, Bomberger JM. Sodium nitrite blocks the activity of aminoglycosides against Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2015;59(6):3329-34. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00546-15. Epub 2015 Mar 23. PubMed PMID: 25801569; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4432197.