Assistant Affiliate Member, Research Institute
After graduating from University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX with high honors, Dr. Shelburne began his residency training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. During his residency, Dr. Shelburne began his research career, first studying immune responses in patients undergoing HIV therapy, and then in the laboratory of Dr. Jim Musser where he began genetically profiling group A Streptococcus (GAS) during its interaction with human saliva. Dr. Shelburne identified a two component system that is activated during GAS colonization of the nasopharynx that controls the expression of several virulence factors and proteins involved in carbohydrate acquisition and metabolism. He has received several awards including an Outstanding Clinical Research Award and an Outstanding Resident Educator from the Baylor College of Medicine, and was awarded a Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award from the NIH for his work on GAS.
Research in the Shelburne laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular basis of bacterial infections in humans, especially Gram-positive pathogens. Currently he is investigating the relationship between carbon-source utilization and virulence in group A Streptococcus (the “flesh-eating bacteria”). Dr. Shelburne’s laboratory utilizes such molecular techniques as whole genome sequencing, expression microarray analysis, isogenic mutant strain creation, and purified protein analysis to define the contribution of specific group A Streptococcus genes/proteins to disease.
An example of the research in the Shelburne laboratory is shown in the accompanying figure. Through expression microarray analysis, researchers in the Shelburne laboratory were able to elucidate a unique regulatory pathway linking nutrient utilization with virulence factor production. A long-term goal of the Shelburne laboratory is to elucidate novel aspects of bacterial pathogenesis that may be amenable to pharmaceutical intervention or prevention.