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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

Microbial Metabolic Capacity for Intestinal Folate Production and Modulation of Host Folate Receptors
Engevik, MA, Morra, CN, Röth, D, Engevik, K, Spinler, JK, Devaraj, S, Crawford, SE, Estes, MK, Kalkum, M & Versalovic, J 2019, Frontiers in Microbiology, vol. 10, 2305.

Taking a Closer Look at the Biogeography of the Human Gastrointestinal Microbiome
Engevik, M & Versalovic, J 2019, Gastroenterology, vol. 157, no. 4, pp. 927-929.

Visualization of microbes by 16S in situ hybridization in term and preterm placentas without intraamniotic infection
Seferovic, MD, Pace, RM, Carroll, M, Belfort, B, Major, AM, Chu, DM, Racusin, DA, Castro, ECC, Muldrew, KL, Versalovic, J & Aagaard, KM 2019, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 221, no. 2, pp. 146.e1-146.e23.

Leveraging Human Microbiome Features to Diagnose and Stratify Children with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Hollister, EB, Oezguen, N, Chumpitazi, BP, Luna, RA, Weidler, EM, Rubio-Gonzales, M, Dahdouli, M, Cope, JL, Mistretta, TA, Raza, S, Metcalf, GA, Muzny, DM, Gibbs, RA, Petrosino, JF, Heitkemper, M, Savidge, TC, Shulman, RJ & Versalovic, J 2019, Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 449-461.

Bifidobacterium dentium fortifies the intestinal mucus layer via autophagy and calcium signaling pathways
Engevik, MA, Luk, B, Chang-Graham, AL, Hall, A, Herrmann, B, Ruan, W, Endres, BT, Shi, Z, Garey, KW, Hyser, JM & Versalovic, J 2019, mBio, vol. 10, no. 3, e01087-19.

Human Intestinal Enteroids With Inducible Neurogenin-3 Expression as a Novel Model of Gut Hormone Secretion
Chang-Graham, AL, Danhof, HA, Engevik, MA, Tomaro-Duchesneau, C, Karandikar, UC, Estes, MK, Versalovic, J, Britton, RA & Hyser, JM 2019, CMGH, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 209-229.

Clinical Importance of Placental Testing among Suspected Cases of Congenital Zika Syndrome
Seferovic, MD, Turley, M, Valentine, GC, Rac, M, Castro, ECC, Major, AM, Sanchez, B, Eppes, C, Sanz-Cortes, M, Dunn, J, Kautz, TF, Versalovic, J, Muldrew, KL, Stout, T, Belfort, MA, Demmler-Harrison, G & Aagaard, KM 2019, International journal of molecular sciences, vol. 20, no. 3.

Distinct roles of histamine H1- and H2-receptor signaling pathways in inflammation-associated colonic tumorigenesis
Shi, Z, Fultz, RS, Engevik, MA, Gao, C, Hall, A, Major, A, Mori-Akiyama, Y & Versalovic, J 2019, American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology, vol. 316, no. 1, pp. G205-G216.

Bacteroides ovatus ATCC 8483 monotherapy is superior to traditional fecal transplant and multi-strain bacteriotherapy in a murine colitis model
Ihekweazu, FD, Fofanova, TY, Queliza, K, Nagy-Szakal, D, Stewart, CJ, Engevik, MA, Hulten, KG, Tatevian, N, Graham, DY, Versalovic, J, Petrosino, JF & Kellermayer, R 2019, Gut Microbes.

Phagocytosis by macrophages depends on histamine H2 receptor signaling and scavenger receptor 1
Fultz, R, Engevik, MA, Shi, Z, Hall, A, Herrmann, B, Ganesh, BP, Major, A, Haag, A, Mori-Akiyama, Y & Versalovic, J 2019, MicrobiologyOpen.

Fecal microbiota transplantation in a toddler after heart transplant was a safe and effective treatment for recurrent Clostridiodes difficile infection: A case report
Spinner, JA, Bocchini, CE, Luna, RA, Thapa, S, Balderas, MA, Denfield, SW, Dreyer, WJ, Nagy-Szakal, D, Ihekweazu, FD, Versalovic, J, Savidge, T & Kellermayer, R 2019, Pediatric Transplantation.

Development of the Pediatric Gut Microbiome: Impact on Health and Disease
Ihekweazu, FD & Versalovic, J 2018, American Journal of the Medical Sciences, vol. 356, no. 5, pp. 413-423.

Clostridium difficile toxins a and b decrease intestinal SLC26A3 protein expression
Coffing, H, Priyamvada, S, Anbazhagan, AN, Salibay, C, Engevik, M, Versalovic, J, Yacyshyn, MB, Yacyshyn, B, Tyagi, S, Saksena, S, Gill, RK, Alrefai, WA & Dudeja, PK 2018, American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, vol. 315, no. 1, pp. G43-G52.

Microbial Metabolism in the Mammalian Gut: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Implications
Hall, A & Versalovic, J 2018, Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, vol. 66, pp. S72-S79.

Postnatal colonization with human "infant-type" Bifidobacterium species alters behavior of adult gnotobiotic mice
Luk, B, Veeraragavan, S, Engevik, M, Balderas, M, Major, A, Runge, J, Luna, RA & Versalovic, J 2018, PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 5, e0196510.

Diacylglycerol kinase synthesized by commensal Lactobacillus reuteri diminishes protein kinase C phosphorylation and histamine-mediated signaling in the mammalian intestinal epithelium
Ganesh, BP, Hall, A, Ayyaswamy, S, Nelson, JW, Fultz, R, Major, A, Haag, A, Esparza, M, Lugo, M, Venable, S, Whary, M, Fox, JG & Versalovic, J 2018, Mucosal Immunology, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 380-393.

Microbial Interactions with the Intestinal Epithelium and Beyond: Focusing on Immune Cell Maturation and Homeostasis
Ganesh, BP, Fultz, R, Ayyaswamy, S & Versalovic, J 2018, Current Pathobiology Reports, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 47-54.

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.

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.

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.

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