Alfredo G. Torres, Ph.D.

Alfredo G. Torres, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology;
Scientist, Sealy Center for Vaccine Development;
Co-Director, UTMB BSL-3 Laboratories

University of Texas Medical Branch
301 University Blvd.
Galveston, Texas 77555-1070

Office: (409) 747-0189
Fax: (409) 747-6869
altorres@utmb.edu

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Alfredo G. Torres, Ph.D.

Appointments

2003-2009 Assistant Professor Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology. UTMB, Galveston, Texas
2003-present Scientist Sealy Center for Vaccine Development, UTMB, Galveston, Texas
2004-2006 Associate Member Texas Gulf Coast Digestive Diseases Center
2004-present Member Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, UTMB, Galveston, Texas
2007-2008 Co-Director BSL-3 Kieller Biocontainment Laboratory, UTMB
2008-present Visiting Professor B. Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, México
2008-present Director BSL-3 Biocontainment Laboratories, UTMB
2009-present Associate Professor Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology. UTMB, Galveston, Texas

Professional Education

Degree Institution Field of Study Graduation Year
B.S. B.Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla, México Chemistry, Pharmacology, Biology 1992
M.S. B.Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla, México

Microbiology

1995
Ph.D. University of Texas, Austin, Texas Molecular Biology 1999
Post-doctoral fellow University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland Bacterial Pathogenesis 2003

Honors

1998 David and Lucile Packard Foundation/National Hispanic Scholarship
Fund Scholarship
1998 L. Joe Berry Memorial Scholarship, UT Austin
1998-1999 David Bruton, Jr. Fellowship, UT Austin
2003 Nominated by UTMB School of Medicine for the Herbert Nickens, M.D. Minority Faculty Award
2005 Nominated by UTMB for W.M. Keck Foundation Distinguished
Young Scholars Award
2006 Excellence in Teaching Award. Microbiology Graduate Program
2008 Nominated by UTMB for the Burroughs Wellcome Fund 2009 Investigators
in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease

Research Interests

Shiga toxin-producing strains of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) are a class of pathogenic E. coli responsible for numerous food- and water-borne outbreaks causing a range of illness in humans, from non-bloody diarrhea to hemorrhagic colitis or hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Strains of EHEC O157:H7, colonize the intestine and produce multiple determinants which cause the pathology associated with the disease. My laboratory is interested to understand what are the mechanisms used by EHEC strains to adhere and colonize the intestinal epithelia. Our major goal is the characterization of novel adhesins and the regulatory network controlling their expression during intestinal colonization.

Second main project of our lab is defining the importance of bacterial surface structures in the pathogenesis of Adherent-Invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC) isolates and their role in the development of an inflammatory response. We are determining whether certain serotypes of AIEC strains are associated with inflammation, as observed in patients suffering from Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. Furthermore, we have recently completed the genome sequence of our prototype AIEC strain and now we are establishing whether specific virulence factors expressed by AIEC strains are associated with chronic inflammation using in vitro and in vivo models of infection.

Finally, my laboratory has initiated a new area of investigation focusing in the pathogenic mechanisms of Burkholderia mallei and the development of candidates for vaccine testing. Currently, we are characterizing the type III secretion system found in this pathogen using in vitro approaches, and testing multiple virulence factors as vaccine candidates to protect against aerosol infection.

Selected Publications

  1. Torres, A.G., and J.B. Kaper. Multiple elements controlling adherence to HeLa cells of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7. Infection and Immunity. 2003; 71:4985-4995.
  2. Torres, A.G., Kanack, K.J., Tutt, C.B., Popov, V., and J.B. Kaper. Characterization of the second Long Polar (LP) fimbriae of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and distribution of LP fimbriae in other pathogenic E. coli strains.FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004; 328:333-344.
  3. Jordan, D.M., Cornick, N., Torres, A.G., Dean-Nystrom, E.A., Kaper, J.B., and H.W. Moon. Long Polar Fimbriae Contribute to Colonization byin vivo. Infection and Immunity. 2004; 72:6168-6171.
  4. Torres, A.G., Zhou, X., and J.B. Kaper. Adherence of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli strains to epithelial cells [minireview]. Infection and Immunity. 2005; 73:18-29.
  5. Torres, A.G., Vazquez-Juarez, R.C., Tutt, C.B., and J.G. Garcia-Gallegos. A Pathoadaptive Mutation that Mediates Adherence of Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli O111. Infection and Immunity. 2005; 73: 4766-4776.
  6. Torres, A.G., C. Jeter, W. Langley, and A. G. Matthysse. Differential binding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to alfalfa, human epithelial cells and plastic is mediated by a variety of surface structures. Applied Environmental Microbiology. 2005; 71:8008-8015.
  7. Tatsuno, I., Mundy, R., Frankel, G., Chong, Y., Phillips, A.D., Torres, A.G., and J.B. Kaper. The lpf gene cluster for long polar fimbriae is not involved in the Adherence of Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli or Virulence of Citrobacter rodentium. Infection and Immunity. 2006; 74:265-272.
  8. Low, A., Dziva, F., Torres, A.G., Martinez, J.L., Rosser, T., Naylor, S., Spears, K., Holden, N., Mahajan, A., Findlay, J., Smith, D.G.E., Low, J.C., Stevens, M.P., and D.L. Gally. Cloning, expression and characterisation of a fimbrial operon, F9, from enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7. Infection and Immunity. 2006; 74:2233-2244.
  9. Miyamoto, Y., Iimura, M., Kaper, J.B., Torres, A.G., L., and M. F. Kagnoff. Role of Shiga Toxin versus H7 Flagellin in Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli signaling of Human Colon Epithelium in vivo. Cellular Microbiology. 2006; 8:869-879.
  10. Torres, A.G., Li, Y, Tutt, C.B., Xin, L., Eaves-Pyles, T., and L. Soong. The outer membrane protein A (OmpA) of Escherichia coli O157:H7 stimulates dendritic cell activation. Infection and Immunity. 2006; 74:2676-2685.
  11. Fitzhenry, R., Dahan, S., Torres, A.G., Chong, Y., Heuschkel, R., Murch, S., Thomson, M., Kaper, J.B., Frankel, G., and A.D. Phillips. Long polar fimbriae and tissue tropism in Escherichia coli O157:H7. Microbes and Infection. 2006; 8:1741-1749.
  12. Jores, J., Torres, A.G., Wagner, S., Tutt, C.B., Kaper, J.B., and L.H. Wieler. Identification and characterization of “pathoadaptive mutations” of the cadBA operon in several intestinal E. coli. International Journal of Medical Microbiology. 2006; 296:547-552.
  13. Reading, N.C., Torres, A.G., Kendall, M.M., Hughes, D.T., Yamamoto, K., and V. Sperandio. A novel two-component signaling system that activates transcription of an enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) effector involved in remodeling of host actin. Journal of Bacteriology. 2007; 189:2468-2476. Epub Jan 12; 2007.
  14. Torres, A.G., Milflores-Flores, L., Garcia-Gallegos, J.G., Patel, S.D., Best, A., La Ragione, R.M., Martinez-Laguna, and M.J. Woodward. Environmental regulation and colonization attributes of the Long Polar fimbriae of Escherichia coli O157:H7. International Journal of Medical Microbiology. 2007; 297:177-185. Epub Mar 13; 2007.
  15. Torres, A.G., Tutt, C.B., Duval, L., Popov, V., Ben Nasr, A., Michalski, J., and I.C.A. Scaletsky. Bile Salts Induce Expression of the Afimbrial LDA Adhesin of Atypical Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli. Cellular Microbiology. 2007; 9:1039-1049.
  16. Torres, A.G., López-Sánchez, G.N., Milflores-Flores, L., Patel, S.D., Martínez de la Peña, C.F., Rojas-López, M.C., Arenas-Hernández, M.M.P., and  Y. Martínez-Laguna. Ler and H-NS, regulators controlling the expression of the Long Polar Fimbriae of Escherichia coli O157:H7. Journal of Bacteriology. 2007; 189:5916-5928. Epub Jun 22.
  17. Whitlock, G.C., Estes, D.M., and A.G. Torres. Glanders: off to the races with Burkholderia. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 2007; 277:115-122.
  18. Eaves-Pyles, T., Allen, C.A., Taormina, J., Swidsinski, A., Tutt, C.B., Jezek, G.E., Islas-Islas, M. and A.G. Torres. Escherichia coli isolated from a Crohn’s disease patient adheres, invades, and induces inflammatory responses in polarized intestinal epithelial cells. International Journal of Medical Microbiology. 2008; 298:397-409. Epub Sep 25.
  19. Allen, C.A., Niesel, D.W., and A.G. Torres. The effects of low-shear stress on Adherent-invasive Escherichia coli. Environmental Microbiology. 2008; 10:1512-1525. Epub Feb 26
  20. Matthysse, A.G., Deora, R., Mishra, M., and A.G. Torres. The polysaccharides cellulose, poly-ß-1,6-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, and colanic acid are required for optimal binding of E. coli O157:H7 strains to alfalfa sprouts and K12 strains to plastic but not for binding to epithelial cells. Applied Environmental Microbiology.2008; 74:2384-2390. Epub Feb 29.

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