Carrie A Cowardin, PhD

My lab is focused on understanding how the maternal and early life gut microbiome interacts with the host immune system to influence child growth and immune development, with the goal of understanding critical host pathways that mediate healthy growth and developing probiotic therapies to promote healthy growth in under-resourced settings. To this end, we have developed a model of intergenerational undernutrition using human microbial communities to colonize germ-free mice. Using this model, we have found that offspring derived from breeding pairs colonized with undernourished microbiota have altered growth and immune development when compared to offspring of breeders colonized with microbiota from a healthy donor. We plan to pursue these findings by identifying critical microbes that mediate these effects, clarifying when microbial colonization is most impactful on host growth, and investigating immune pathways that mediate microbial signals, with the goal of identifying specific microbial species and immune pathways for targeted intervention to reduce the global burden of undernutrition.

Selected Publications

  • Frisbee AL, Saleh MM, Young MK, Leslie JL, Simpson ME, Abhyankar MM, Cowardin CA, Ma JZ, Pramoonjago P, Turner SD, Liou AP, Buonomo EL, Petri WA, IL-33 drives group 2 innate lymphoid cell-mediated protection during Clostridium difficile infection., 2019; Nature communications. 10(1) 2712. PMID: 31221971 | PMCID: PMC6586630
  • Gehrig JL, Venkatesh S, Chang HW, Hibberd MC, Kung VL, Cheng J, Chen RY, Subramanian S, Cowardin CA, Meier MF, O’Donnell D, Talcott M, Spears LD, Semenkovich CF, Henrissat B, Giannone RJ, Hettich RL, Ilkayeva O, Muehlbauer M, Newgard CB, Sawyer C, Head RD, Rodionov DA, Arzamasov AA, Leyn SA, Osterman AL, Hossain MI, Islam M, Choudhury N, Sarker SA, Huq S, Mahmud I, Mostafa I, Mahfuz M, Barratt MJ, Ahmed T, Gordon JI, Effects of microbiota-directed foods in gnotobiotic animals and undernourished children., 2019; Science (New York, N.Y.). 365(6449) . PMID: 31296738 | PMCID: PMC6683325
  • Cowardin CA, Ahern PP, Kung VL, Hibberd MC, Cheng J, Guruge JL, Sundaresan V, Head RD, Barile D, Mills DA, Barratt MJ, Huq S, Ahmed T, Gordon JI, Mechanisms by which sialylated milk oligosaccharides impact bone biology in a gnotobiotic mouse model of infant undernutrition., 2019; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116(24) 11988-11996. PMID: 31138692 | PMCID: PMC6575181
  • Saleh MM, Frisbee AL, Leslie JL, Buonomo EL, Cowardin CA, Ma JZ, Simpson ME, Scully KW, Abhyankar MM, Petri WA, Colitis-Induced Th17 Cells Increase the Risk for Severe Subsequent Clostridium difficile Infection., 2019; Cell host & microbe. 25(5) 756-765.e5. PMID: 31003940 | PMCID: PMC6509008
  • Noor Z, Watanabe K, Abhyankar MM, Burgess SL, Buonomo EL, Cowardin CA, Petri WA, Role of Eosinophils and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha in Interleukin-25-Mediated Protection from Amebic Colitis., 2017; mBio. 8(1) . PMID: 28246365 | PMCID: PMC5347349
  • Cowardin CA, Buonomo EL, Saleh MM, Wilson MG, Burgess SL, Kuehne SA, Schwan C, Eichhoff AM, Koch-Nolte F, Lyras D, Aktories K, Minton NP, Petri WA, The binary toxin CDT enhances Clostridium difficile virulence by suppressing protective colonic eosinophilia., 2016; Nature microbiology. 1(8) 16108. PMID: 27573114 | PMCID: PMC5010011
  • Bartelt LA, Bolick DT, Kolling GL, Roche JK, Zaenker EI, Lara AM, Noronha FJ, Cowardin CA, Moore JH, Turner JR, Warren CA, Buck GA, Guerrant RL, Cryptosporidium Priming Is More Effective than Vaccine for Protection against Cryptosporidiosis in a Murine Protein Malnutrition Model., 2016; PLoS neglected tropical diseases. 10(7) e0004820. PMID: 27467505 | PMCID: PMC4965189
  • Cowardin CA, Jackman BM, Noor Z, Burgess SL, Feig AL, Petri WA, Glucosylation Drives the Innate Inflammatory Response to Clostridium difficile Toxin A., 2016; Infection and immunity. 84(8) 2317-23. PMID: 27271747 | PMCID: PMC4962640
  • Buonomo EL, Cowardin CA, Wilson MG, Saleh MM, Pramoonjago P, Petri WA, Microbiota-Regulated IL-25 Increases Eosinophil Number to Provide Protection during Clostridium difficile Infection., 2016; Cell reports. 16(2) 432-443. PMID: 27346351 | PMCID: PMC4945404
  • Burgess SL, Saleh M, Cowardin CA, Buonomo E, Noor Z, Watanabe K, Abhyankar M, Lajoie S, Wills-Karp M, Petri WA, Role of Serum Amyloid A, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, and Bone Marrow Granulocyte-Monocyte Precursor Expansion in Segmented Filamentous Bacterium-Mediated Protection from Entamoeba histolytica., 2016; Infection and immunity. 84(10) 2824-32. PMID: 27456830 | PMCID: PMC5038085
  • Cowardin CA, Kuehne SA, Buonomo EL, Marie CS, Minton NP, Petri WA, Inflammasome activation contributes to interleukin-23 production in response to Clostridium difficile., 2015; mBio. 6(1) . PMID: 25626905 | PMCID: PMC4324312
  • Burgess SL, Buonomo E, Carey M, Cowardin C, Naylor C, Noor Z, Wills-Karp M, Petri WA, Bone marrow dendritic cells from mice with an altered microbiota provide interleukin 17A-dependent protection against Entamoeba histolytica colitis., 2014; mBio. 5(6) e01817. PMID: 25370489 | PMCID: PMC4222101
  • Cowardin CA, Petri WA, Host recognition of Clostridium difficile and the innate immune response., 2014; Anaerobe. 30() 205-9. PMID: 25223264 | PMCID: PMC4258135