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Christine Szymanski
Professor of Microbiology

AITF iCORE Strategic Chair in Bacterial Glycomics

Relevance of glycomics in microbiome interactions on mucosal surfaces lining the gastrointestinal tract of humans and food animals

Telephone: 706-542-4439
Fax: 706-542-4412

Short Biography
Research Interests

Short Biography:
Dr. Szymanski has been exploring bacterial glycomics for more than two decades, working on food pathogens since the early 1990s, with a particular emphasis on Campylobacter jejuni. She combines her expertise in food safety and animal health with novel therapeutic diagnostic platforms developed during her postdoctoral fellowship at the Naval Medical Research Center vaccine program (1996-2000), the key findings while employed at the National Research Council of Canada (2000-2008), and the translational advances during her tenure as an Alberta Innovates Technology Futures Scholar at the University of Alberta (2008-2016). She was the first to demonstrate that bacteria are capable of N-glycosylating proteins and is now exploiting these systems to create glycoconjugate vaccines and oral therapeutics through recombinant expression in Escherichia coli. Dr. Szymanski was also the first to demonstrate that viruses specific for bacteria express proteins that can be used as novel therapeutics in addition to their recognized diagnostic value. These viruses (bacteriophages) are the most abundant biological entity on earth (1031) and are therefore a limitless resource for exploitation, especially in the area of glycomics.

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Research Interests:
The Szymanski laboratory uses multidisciplinary approaches to 1) characterize pathways responsible for generating bacterial glycoconjugates and 2) exploit viral recognition proteins that bind to these structures to develop novel platforms for agricultural and food safety applications. Our studies are now expanding to the analyses of carbohydrate metabolism and bacteriophage influence on the gut microbiome, and development of glycoconjugate vaccines against other pathogens.

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Publications: Author's Last Name: Szymanski

Journal Articles
Book Chapters are listed at the bottom of this page.

CQ Wenzel, DC Mills, JM Dobruchowska, J Vlach, H Nothaft, P Nation, P Azadi, SB Melville, RW Carlson, MF Feldman, CM Szymanski, . 2020. An atypical lipoteichoic acid from Clostridium perfringens elicits a broadly cross-reactive and protective immune response. J Biol Chem 295(28): 9513-9530. PMID:32424044

JC Sacher, A Shajahan, J Butcher, RT Patry, A Flint, DR Hendrixon, A Stintzi, P Azadi, CM Szymanski. 2020. Binding of Phage-Encoded FlaGrab to Motile Campylobacter jejuni Flagella Inhibits Growth, Downregulates Energy Metabolism, and Requires Specific Flagellar Glycans. Front Microbiol 11:397: doi: 10.3389-fmicb.2020.00397. PMID:32265863

JM Garber, H. Nothaft, B Pluvinage, M. Stahl, X. Bian, S Porfirio, A Enriquez, J Butcher, H Huang, J. Glushka, E Line, JA Gerlt, P. Azadi, A. Stintzi, AB Boraston, CM Szymanski. 2020. The gastrointestinal pathogen Campylobacter jejuni metabolizes sugars with potential help from commensal Bacteroides vulgatus. Commun Biol 3(1): 2-doi: 10.1038/s42. PMID:31925306

CS Crippen, YJ Lee, G Hutinet, A Shajahan, JC Sacher, P Azadi, V de Crecy-Lagard, PR Weigele, CM Szymanski. 2019. Deoxyinosine and 7-Deaza-2-Deoxyguanosine as Carriers of Genetic Information in the DNA of Campylobacter Viruses. J Virol 93(23): e01111-19. PMID:31511377

H. Nothaft, B.G. Davis, Y.Y. Lock, M.E. Perez-Munoz, E. Vinogradov, J. Walter, C. Coros, C.M. Szymanski. 2016. Engineering the Campylobacter jejuni N-glycan to create an effective chicken vaccine. Sci Rep. 6: 26511-. PMID:27221144

R. Dwivedi, H. Nothaft, J. Garber, L. Xin Kin, M. Stahl, A. Flint, A.H. van Vliet, A. Stintzi, C.M. Szymanski. 2016. L-fucose influences chemotaxis and biofilm formation in Campylobacter jejuni. Mol Microbiol. 101: 575-589. PMID:27145048

D.J. Simpson, J.C. Sacher, C.M. Szymanski. 2015. Exploring the interactions between bacteriophage-encoded glycan binding proteins and carbohydrates. Curr Opin Struct Biol. 34: 69-77. PMID:26275959

M.A. Javed, L.B. van Alphen, J. Sacher, W. Ding, J. Kelly, C. Nargang, D.F. Smith, R.D. Cummings, C.M. Szymanski. 2015. A receptor-binding protein of Campylobacter jejuni bacteriophage NCTC 12673 recognizes flagellin glycosylated with acetamidino-modified pseudaminic acid. Mol Microbiol. 95: 101-115. PMID:25354466

H. Nothaft, C.M. Szymanski. 2013. Bacterial protein N-glycosylation: New perspectives and applications. J Biol Chem. 288: 6912-6920. PMID:23329827

M.C. Holst Sorensen, L.B. van Alphen, C. Fodor, S.M. Crowley, B.B. Christensen, C.M. Szymanski, L. Brondsted. 2012. Phase variable expression of capsular polysaccharide modifications allows Campylobacter jejuni to avoid bacteriophage infection in chickens. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2: 11-. PMID:22919603

H. Nothaft, N.E. Scott, E. Vinogradov, X. Liu, R. Hu, B. Beadle, C. Fodor, W.G. Miller, J. Li, S.J. Cordwell, C.M. Szymanski. 2012. Diversity in the protein N-glycosylation pathways within the Campylobacter genus. Mol Cell Proteomics 11: 1203-1219. PMID:22859570

C.M. Szymanski, E.C. Gaynor. 2012. How a sugary bug gets through the day: Recent developments in understanding fundamental processes impacting Campylobacter jejuni pathogenesis. Gut Microbes 3: 135-144. PMID:22555465

M Stahl, L.M. Friis, H. Nothaft, X. Liu, J. Li, C.M. Szymanski, A. Stintzi. 2011. L-fucose utilization provides Campylobacter jejuni with a competitive advantage. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108: 7194-7199. PMID:21482772

Book Chapters

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