Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Paul Sumby


Paul Sumby, Ph.D.

Paul Sumby, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine
Houston Methodist Hospital
Assistant Member
Houston Methodist Research Institute

6565 Fannin Street, Suite R6-112
Houston, Texas 77030
Phone: 713-441-5897
Email: psumby@houstonmethodist.org


Dr. Sumby received his Ph.D. degree in molecular microbiology from the University of Nottingham in Nottingham, England, U.K. After completing postdoctoral fellowships in infectious diseases at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts and Research Institute in Houston, Texas, Dr. Sumby remained at Houston Methodist and joined the Center for Molecular and Translational Human Infectious Diseases Research as a research scientist.

Dr. Sumby’s research is aimed towards advancing current knowledge of the global regulatory mechanisms controlling virulence gene expression in bacterial pathogens, and illuminating currently unknown mediators of pathogenesis. Newly identified virulence-related regulatory mechanisms represent attractive targets for manipulation by new antimicrobial agents. His laboratory is focused on regulatory systems employing small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs). sRNAs are small RNA molecules that primarily function through repression of mRNA translation following sRNA:mRNA duplex formation. As a model organism, Dr. Sumby uses the human bacterial pathogen group A Streptococcus (GAS) which causes a broad spectrum of diseases including pharyngitis, necrotizing fasciitis, a toxic-shock-like syndrome, and the post-infection sequelae of acute rheumatic fever.

Representative Recent Publications

  • Treviño J, Liu Z, Cao TN, Ramirez-Peña E, Sumby P. RivR is a negative regulator of virulence factor expression in group A Streptococcus. Infect Immun. 2013 Jan;81(1):364-72.
  • Liu Z, Treviño J, Ramirez-Peña E, Sumby P. The small regulatory RNA FasX controls pilus expression and adherence in the human bacterial pathogen group A Streptococcus. Mol Microbiol. 2012 Oct;86(1):140-54.
  • Carroll RK, Beres SB, Sitkiewicz I, Peterson L, Matsunami RK, Engler DA, Flores AR, Sumby P, Musser JM. Evolution of diversity in epidemics revealed by analysis of the human bacterial pathogen group A Streptococcus. Epidemics. 2011 Sep;3(3-4):159-70.
  • Pflughoeft KJ, Sumby P, Koehler TM. Bacillus anthracis sin locus and regulation of secreted proteases. J Bacteriol. 2011 Feb;193(3):631-9.
  • Ramirez-Peña E, Treviño J, Liu Z, Perez N, Sumby P. The group A Streptococcus small regulatory RNA FasX enhances streptokinase activity by increasing the stability of the ska mRNA transcript. Mol Microbiol. 2010 Dec;78(6):1332-47.
  • Shelburne SA, Olsen RJ, Suber B, Sahasrabhojane P, Sumby P, Brennan RG, Musser JM. A combination of independent transcriptional regulators shapes bacterial virulence gene expression during infection. PLoS Pathog. 2010 Mar 19;6(3):e1000817.
  • Treviño J, Perez N, Sumby P. The 4.5S RNA component of the signal recognition particle is required for group A Streptococcus virulence. Microbiology. 2010 May;156(Pt 5):1342-50.
  • Perez N, Treviño J, Liu Z, Ho SC, Babitzke P, Sumby P. A genome-wide analysis of small regulatory RNAs in the human pathogen group A Streptococcus. PLoS One. 2009 Nov 2;4(11):e7668.
  • Zhu H, Liu M, Sumby P, Lei B. The secreted esterase of group A Streptococcus is important for invasive skin infection and dissemination in mice. Infect Immun. 2009 Dec;77(12):5225-32.
  • Treviño J, Perez N, Ramirez-Peña E, Liu Z, Shelburne SA 3rd, Musser JM, Sumby P. CovS simultaneously activates and inhibits the CovR-mediated repression of distinct subsets of group A Streptococcus virulence factor-encoding genes. Infect Immun. 2009 Aug;77(8):3141-9.
  • Sumby P, Tart AH, Musser JM. A non-human primate model of acute group A Streptococcus pharyngitis. Methods Mol Biol. 2008;431:255-67.
  • Shelburne SA 3rd, Keith D, Horstmann N, Sumby P, Davenport MT, Graviss EA, Brennan RG, Musser JM. A direct link between carbohydrate utilization and virulence in the major human pathogen group A Streptococcus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Feb 5;105(5):1698-703.
  • Sumby P, Zhang S, Whitney AR, Falugi F, Grandi G, Graviss EA, Deleo FR, Musser JM. A chemokine-degrading extracellular protease made by group A Streptococcus alters pathogenesis by enhancing evasion of the innate immune response. Infect Immun. 2008 Mar;76(3):978-85.
  • Shelburne SA 3rd, Okorafor N, Sitkiewicz I, Sumby P, Keith D, Patel P, Austin C, Graviss EA, Musser JM. Regulation of polysaccharide utilization contributes to the persistence of group A Streptococcus in the oropharynx. Infect Immun. 2007 Jun;75(6):2981-90.
  • Shelburne SA 3rd, Fang H, Okorafor N, Sumby P, Sitkiewicz I, Keith D, Patel P, Austin C, Graviss EA, Musser JM, Chow DC. MalE of group A Streptococcus participates in the rapid transport of maltotriose and longer maltodextrins. J Bacteriol. 2007 Apr;189(7):2610-7.