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Dr. Jennifer A. Philips, MD, PhD of the Washington University School of Medicine to Join OCRID External Advisory Committee

OCRID welcomes Dr. Jennifer Philips to our External Advisory Committee (EAC)! Dr. Philips has graciously agreed to serve on our EAC after the departure of Dr. Bruce Stanton. We are very grateful to Dr. Stanton for his years of service and wish him all the best!


Dr. Philips is the Theodore and Bertha Bryan Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Molecular Microbiology at the Washington University School of Medicine. She is also the Co-director of the Infectious Diseases Division, and principal investigator of an NIH-funded lab that studies Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the cause of TB, one of the world’s most deadly infections. Dr. Philips presented an OCRID seminar in the Spring of 2022 on her work.


The long-term goal of the Philips laboratory is to help change the face of the TB epidemic. Mtb has infected humans for thousands of years and is second only to SARS-CoV-2 as an infectious disease killer. Mtb grows in macrophages and impairs the innate and adaptive immune response. As such, Mtb is a master at undermining host immunity. Dr. Philips investigates how Mtb evades the host immune response and works on strategies and drugs to overcome immune evasion. The Philips lab has made seminal discoveries and has shown for example that Mtb blocks lysosomal trafficking, alters host metabolism, and impairs antigen presentation. Her lab has also identified clinically available drugs that restore the ability of the host to clear Mtb, thereby overcoming key immune evasion strategies of Mtb. These findings may lead to novel host-directed therapies for TB. In her most recent work, she showed that the abundance of an Mtb-host co-metabolite in sputum and plasma distinguishes Mtb-infected patients from uninfected controls. This may enable development of biomarkers to help individualize TB treatment. In short, her group pursues fundamental discoveries in Mtb pathogenesis, hoping to enable better therapies, novel biomarkers, and effective vaccines for one of humankind’s greatest afflictions.


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