Professor Denise Monack
Denise M. Monack received her Bachelor’s in Science in Genetics from the University of California at Davis. She attended graduate school in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University and obtained her Ph.D. in the laboratory of Dr. Stanley Falkow in the field of bacterial pathogenesis in 2002. She is currently an associate professor in the Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University where she teaches and has a laboratory in which graduate students and postdoctoral students conduct research in the field of bacterial pathogenesis. In addition, she is the Director of Graduate Admissions Program in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and is committed to the successful completion of training for both postdoctoral fellows and especially the Program’s graduate students. The primary focus of her research is to understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms of intracellular bacterial pathogenesis. Her research includes the study of the complex interactions between bacterial pathogens and macrophages. Her laboratory focuses on the cytosolic recognition of bacteria that leads to Type I Interferon signaling and Inflammasome activation. They take both a genetic and biochemical approach to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in host recognition pathways leading to inflammation and pathogen evasion mechanisms. In addition, they study host-adapted pathogens that have evolved to persist within hosts for long periods of time. They utilize a mouse model to study mechanisms of asymptomatic persistent Salmonella infections and transmission. They have recently characterized the immune state of asymptomatic carriers and described a unique dampened immune state in supershedder hosts. In addition, her laboratory has used this mouse model in combination with genome-wide mutagenesis techniques to identify 280 Salmonella genes that are important for persistent colonization. In-depth studies of these genes have revealed examples of unique co-evolution between a pathogen and it’s mammalian host.