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James Versalovic, MD,PhD

Full Affiliate Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist


After completion of his postdoctoral training, Dr. Versalovic remained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA as a Research Scientist in the Division of Comparative Medicine. During that time, he also held an appointment as an Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Harvard Medical School. In 2001, he joined the faculty at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas as an Assistant Professor in both the Department of Pathology and Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology. He also received additional appointments there as an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics in 2005, and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in 2008. All of these appointments were promoted to full professorships in 2009. Dr. Versalovic also co-directs the Medical Scientist (M.D./Ph.D.) Training Program and the Functional Genomics and Proteomics Core at the NIH-funded Texas Medical Center Digestive Diseases Center, both at Baylor. His research accomplishments have been impressive; he has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on 7 NIH grants, 4 of which are ongoing. Dr. Versalovic has published extensively in the medical literature and has been an associate editor for the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Gut Microbes.

Description of Research

Dr. Versalovic’s research is in the area of bacterial pathogenesis and host-pathogen interactions, especially as they relate to diseases and disorders of the intestinal microbiome. With funding from the NIH and Department of Defense, he has conducted numerous studies to identify and develop probiotics for the treatment of inflammatory disorders and diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and infections of the gut from pathogenic bacteria. Using whole genomic and comparative proteomic approaches, he has identified various antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory factors for Lactobacillus reuteri, as well as immunomodulatory factors from novel human-derived strains of Lactobacillus saerimneri and ruminis. His current studies also include bench and preclinical research with probiotic Lactobacillus to further elucidate the properties of its biofilms and identify potential uses in disease management and/or prevention.

Areas Of Expertise

Bacterial pathogenesis Host-pathogen interactions Microbiome Genomics Proteomics Biofilms
Education & Training

PhD , Baylor College of Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellowship , Baylor College of Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellowship , Harvard Medical School
Postdoctoral Fellowship , Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Development of the cutaneous microbiome in the preterm infant: A prospective longitudinal study
Pammi, M, OBrien, JL, Ajami, NJ, Wong, MC, Versalovic, J & Petrosino, JF 2017, PLoS ONE, vol 12, no. 4, e0176669. DOI:

Molecular assays for the diagnosis of sepsis in neonates
Pammi, M, Flores, A, Versalovic, J & Leeflang, MMG 2017, The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, vol 2017, no. 2, CD011926. DOI:

Intestinal dysbiosis in preterm infants preceding necrotizing enterocolitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Pammi, M, Cope, J, Tarr, PI, Warner, BB, Morrow, AL, Mai, V, Gregory, KE, Simon Kroll, J, McMurtry, V, Ferris, MJ, Engstrand, L, Lilja, HE, Hollister, EB, Versalovic, J & Neu, J 2017, Microbiome, vol 5, no. 1, 31. DOI:

Generation and validation of a universal perinatal database and biospecimen repository: PeriBank
Antony, KM, Hemarajata, P, Chen, J, Morris, J, Cook, C, Masalas, D, Gedminas, M, Brown, A, Versalovic, J & Aagaard, K 2016, Journal of Perinatology, vol 36, no. 11, pp. 921-929. DOI:

The Fecal Microbiome in Pediatric Patients with Short Bowel Syndrome
Davidovics, ZH, Carter, BA, Luna, RA, Hollister, EB, Shulman, RJ & Versalovic, J 2016, Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, vol 40, no. 8, pp. 1106-1113. DOI:

Characterization of Lactobacillus salivarius strains B37 and B60 capable of inhibiting IL-8 production in Helicobacter pylori-stimulated gastric epithelial cells
Panpetch, W, Spinler, JK, Versalovic, J & Tumwasorn, S 2016, BMC Microbiology, vol 16, no. 1, 242. DOI:

The mucosal microbiota in a young child with severe non- Helicobacter gastritis
Preidis, GA, Luna, RA, Hollister, EB, Schady, D, Gao, C, Finegold, MJ, Versalovic, J & Shulman, RJ 2016, Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, vol 9, no. 5, pp. 749-751. DOI:

Distinct Microbiome-Neuroimmune Signatures Correlate With Functional Abdominal Pain in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Luna, RA, Oezguen, N, Balderas, M, Venkatachalam, A, Runge, JK, Versalovic, J, Veenstra-VanderWeele, J, Anderson, GM, Savidge, T & Williams, KC 2016, CMGH Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology. DOI:

Composition and function of the pediatric colonic mucosal microbiome in untreated patients with ulcerative colitis
Shah, R, Cope, JL, Nagy-Szakal, D, Dowd, S, Versalovic, J, Hollister, EB & Kellermayer, R 2016, Gut Microbes, pp. 1-13. DOI:

Transfer of viral communities between human individuals during fecal microbiota transplantation
Chehoud, C, Dryga, A, Hwang, Y, Nagy-Szakal, D, Hollister, EB, Luna, RA, Versalovic, J, Kellermayer, R & Bushman, FD 2016, mBio, vol 7, no. 2, e00322-16. DOI:

Psyllium Fiber Reduces Abdominal Pain in Children With Irritable Bowel Syndrome in a Randomized, Double-Blind Trial
Shulman, RJ, Hollister, EB, Cain, K, Czyzewski, DI, Self, MM, Weidler, EM, Devaraj, S, Luna, RA, Versalovic, J & Heitkemper, M 2016, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. DOI:

GABA-producing Bifidobacterium dentium modulates visceral sensitivity in the intestine
Pokusaeva, K, Johnson, C, Luk, B, Uribe, G, Fu, Y, Oezguen, N, Matsunami, RK, Lugo, M, Major, A, Mori-Akiyama, Y, Hollister, EB, Dann, SM, Shi, XZ, Engler, DA, Savidge, T & Versalovic, J 2016, Neurogastroenterology and Motility. DOI:

FolC2-mediated folate metabolism contributes to suppression of inflammation by probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri
Thomas, CM, Saulnier, DMA, Spinler, JK, Hemarajata, P, Gao, C, Jones, SE, Grimm, A, Balderas, MA, Burstein, MD, Morra, C, Roeth, D, Kalkum, M & Versalovic, J 2016, MicrobiologyOpen. DOI:

Colonic Mucosal Epigenome and Microbiome Development in Children and Adolescents
Harris, RA, Shah, R, Hollister, EB, Tronstad, RR, Hovdenak, N, Szigeti, R, Versalovic, J & Kellermayer, R 2016, Journal of Immunology Research, vol 2016, 9170162. DOI:

Histamine H2 receptor-mediated suppression of intestinal inflammation by probiotic lactobacillus reuteri
Gao, C, Major, A, Rendon, D, Lugo, M, Jackson, V, Shi, Z, Mori-Akiyama, Y & Versalovic, J 2015, mBio, vol 6, no. 6, e01358-15. DOI:

Structure and function of the healthy pre-adolescent pediatric gut microbiome
Hollister, EB, Riehle, K, Luna, RA, Weidler, EM, Rubio-Gonzales, M, Mistretta, TA, Raza, S, Doddapaneni, HV, Metcalf, GA, Muzny, DM, Gibbs, RA, Petrosino, JF, Shulman, RJ & Versalovic, J 2015, Microbiome, vol 3, pp. 36. DOI:

Randomised clinical trial: gut microbiome biomarkers are associated with clinical response to a low FODMAP diet in children with the irritable bowel syndrome
Chumpitazi, BP, Cope, JL, Hollister, EB, Tsai, CM, McMeans, AR, Luna, RA, Versalovic, J & Shulman, RJ 2015, Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, vol 42, no. 4, pp. 418-427. DOI:

The preterm placental microbiome varies in association with excess maternal gestational weight gain
Antony, KM, Ma, J, Mitchell, KB, Racusin, DA, Versalovic, J & Aagaard, K 2015, American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, vol 212, no. 5. DOI:

Serial fecal microbiota transplantation alters mucosal gene expression in pediatric ulcerative colitis
Kellermayer, R, Nagy-Szakal, D, Harris, RA, Luna, RA, Pitashny, M, Schady, D, Mir, SAV, Lopez, ME, Gilger, MA, Belmont, J, Hollister, EB & Versalovic, J 2015, American Journal of Gastroenterology, vol 110, no. 4, pp. 604-606. DOI:

Luminal conversion and immunoregulation by probiotics
Ganesh, BP & Versalovic, J 2015, Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol 6, no. NOV, 277. DOI: