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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

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

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

Microbiome-based diagnostics: Ready for applications in laboratory medicine?
Versalovic, J, Dore, J, Guarner, F, Luna, RA & Ringel, Y 2017, Clinical Chemistry, vol 63, no. 11, pp. 1674-1679. DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2016.264473

Towards standards for human fecal sample processing in metagenomic studies
Costea, PI, Zeller, G, Sunagawa, S, Pelletier, E, Alberti, A, Levenez, F, Tramontano, M, Driessen, M, Hercog, R, Jung, FE, Kultima, JR, Hayward, MR, Coelho, LP, Allen-Vercoe, E, Bertrand, L, Blaut, M, Brown, JRM, Carton, T, Cools-Portier, S, Daigneault, M, Derrien, M, Druesne, A, De Vos, WM, Finlay, BB, Flint, HJ, Guarner, F, Hattori, M, Heilig, H, Luna, RA, Van Hylckama Vlieg, J, Junick, J, Klymiuk, I, Langella, P, Le Chatelier, E, Mai, V, Manichanh, C, Martin, JC, Mery, C, Morita, H, Otoole, PW, Orvain, C, Patil, KR, Penders, J, Persson, S, Pons, N, Popova, M, Salonen, A, Saulnier, D, Scott, KP, Singh, B, Slezak, K, Veiga, P, Versalovic, J, Zhao, L, Zoetendal, EG, Ehrlich, SD, Dore, J & Bork, P 2017, Nature Biotechnology, vol 35, no. 11, pp. 1069-1076. DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3960

Gut Microbe–Mediated Suppression of Inflammation-Associated Colon Carcinogenesis by Luminal Histamine Production
Gao, C, Ganesh, BP, Shi, Z, Shah, RR, Fultz, R, Major, A, Venable, S, Lugo, M, Hoch, K, Chen, X, Haag, A, Wang, TC & Versalovic, J 2017, American Journal of Pathology, vol 187, no. 10, pp. 2323-2336. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2017.06.011

Biochemical features of beneficial microbes: Foundations for therapeutic microbiology
Engevik, MA & Versalovic, J 2017, Microbiology Spectrum, vol 5, no. 5, BAD-0012-2016. DOI: 10.1128/microbiolspec.BAD-0012-2016

From Z to A: Putting Zika virus in perspective
Teruya, J & Versalovic, J 2017, Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, vol 154, no. 1, pp. 303-304. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2016.11.074

Differences in gut microbial composition correlate with regional brain volumes in irritable bowel syndrome
Labus, JS, Hollister, EB, Jacobs, J, Kirbach, K, Oezguen, N, Gupta, A, Acosta, J, Luna, RA, Aagaard, K, Versalovic, J, Savidge, T, Hsiao, E, Tillisch, K & Mayer, EA 2017, Microbiome, vol 5, no. 1, pp. 49. DOI: 10.1186/s40168-017-0260-z

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: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176669

Testing for Zika virus infection in pregnancy: key concepts to deal with an emerging epidemic
Eppes, C, Rac, M, Dunn, J, Versalovic, J, Murray, KO, Suter, MA, Sanz Cortes, M, Espinoza, J, Seferovic, MD, Lee, W, Hotez, P, Mastrobattista, J, Clark, SL, Belfort, MA & Aagaard, KM 2017, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol 216, no. 3, pp. 209-225. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.01.020

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: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2016.11.008

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: 10.1002/14651858.CD011926.pub2

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: 10.1186/s40168-017-0248-8

Nextgeneration probiotics targeting Clostridium difficile through precursor-directed antimicrobial biosynthesis
Spinler, JK, Auchtung, J, Brown, A, Boonma, P, Oezguen, N, Ross, CL, Luna, RA, Runge, J, Versalovic, J, Peniche, A, Dann, SM, Britton, RA, Haag, A & Savidge, TC 2017, Infection and Immunity, vol 85, no. 10, e00303-17. DOI: 10.1128/IAI.00303-17

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: 10.1016/j.cgh.2016.03.045

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: 10.1038/jp.2016.130

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: 10.1177/0148607115591216

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: 10.1186/s12866-016-0861-x

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: 10.1177/1756283X16653582

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: 10.1111/nmo.12904

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: 10.1080/19490976.2016.1190073

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: 10.1002/mbo3.371