Belisle Lab

Dr. John Belisle’s research focuses on the biochemistry of bacterial pathogens (in particular Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium leprae and Borrelia burgdorferi) and the diseases they cause: tuberculosis, leprosy and Lyme disease. He has a particular interest in how disease-causing bacteria and their hosts respond to one another at a biochemical level.

Research activities in Dr. Belisle’s laboratory have included the purification and characterization of bacterial proteins (including enzymes), lipids, and glycolconjugates; elucidation of biochemical processes; discovery of diagnostic and vaccine antigens; and the definition of specific molecular interactions involving the innate immune response. Most recently, Dr. Belisle has investigated host metabolic responses to identify biochemical pathways altered in response to bacterial infection and disease, and to apply this approach to identify novel biomarkers and biosignatures of disease progression and treatment outcome.

Dr. Belisle is co-director of the Center for Metabolism of Infectious Diseases, and the Belisle Lab is a part of the Mycobacteria Research Laboratories.

research project

The Study of Host-Pathogen Interactions in Leprosy

The pathogen Mycobacterium leprae is responsible for ~200,000 new cases of leprosy annually. The Belisle laboratory is studying how the metabolism of this obligate intracellular pathogen and the human host are entwined and drive the neuropathology of leprosy. The laboratory also studies how M. leprae products stimulate immune responses.

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research project

Metabolic Responses to Tuberculosis and Tuberculosis Treatment

Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections are responsible for one of the globe’s most common infectious diseases, tuberculosis. Through the application of metabolomics and other research tools, the Belisle laboratory is studying the metabolic response in tuberculosis to develop prognostic markers of disease progression and treatment response, and to further understanding of this pathogen's success.

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research project

Host Metabolic Biosignatures for the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Lyme Disease

Dr. Belisle’s laboratory is investigating the use of metabolomics and host metabolic biosignatures to develop novel diagnostics and prognostics tools for Lyme disease. Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Diagnosis of early Lyme disease remains difficult and delay in treatment can result in Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.

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research project

The Center for Metabolism of Infectious Diseases

Along with Dr. Rushika Perera, Dr. Belisle is the co-director of the Center for Metabolism of Infectious Diseases. The center brings together the expertise of over 15 CSU research laboratories to enable development of new treatments, preventions, and diagnostics for infectious diseases by resolving host-vector-pathogen-environment interactions at a metabolic level.

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Localization of EccA3 at the growing pole in Mycobacterium smegmatis.
Kriel NL, Newton-Foot M, Bennion OT, Aldridge BB, Mehaffy C, Belisle JT, Walzl G, Warren RM, Sampson SL, Gey van Pittius NC.
BMC Microbiol. 2022 May 19;22(1):140. doi: 10.1186/s12866-022-02554-6. PMID: 35590245

Biomarker selection and a prospective metabolite-based machine learning diagnostic for lyme disease.
Kehoe ER, Fitzgerald BL, Graham B, Islam MN, Sharma K, Wormser GP, Belisle JT, Kirby MJ.
Sci Rep. 2022 Jan 27;12(1):1478. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-05451-0. PMID: 35087163

Reductive Power Generated by Mycobacterium leprae Through Cholesterol Oxidation Contributes to Lipid and ATP Synthesis.
Rosa TLSA, Marques MAM, DeBoard Z, Hutchins K, Silva CAA, Montague CR, Yuan T, Amaral JJ, Atella GC, Rosa PS, Mattos KA, VanderVen BC, Lahiri R, Sampson NS, Brennan PJ, Belisle JT, Pessolani MCV, Berrêdo-Pinho M.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 Jul 28;11:709972. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2021.709972. eCollection 2021. PMID: 34395315

An rfuABCD-Like Operon and Its Relationship to Riboflavin Utilization and Mammalian Infectivity by Borrelia burgdorferi.
Muramatsu MK, Zhou J, Fitzgerald BL, Deka RK, Belisle JT, Norgard MV.
Infect Immun. 2021 Sep 16;89(10):e0030721. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00307-21. Epub 2021 Jul 12. PMID: 34310888

Identification and functional analysis of a galactosyltransferase capable of cholesterol glycolipid formation in the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi.
Hove PR, Magunda F, de Mello Marques MA, Islam MN, Harton MR, Jackson M, Belisle JT.
PLoS One. 2021 Jun 1;16(6):e0252214. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0252214. eCollection 2021. PMID: 34061884

more publications


John Belisle, Ph.D.

Lab Principal Investigator
Co-Director, Center for Metabolism of Infectious Diseases (

Angela De Mello Marques, Ph.D.

Research Scientist III

Nurul Islam, Ph.D.

Research Scientist II

Venugopal Pujari, Ph.D.

Research Scientist I

Marisa Harton

Research Associate IV
Lab Manager

Linda Fischbacher

Research Associate I

Zaithun Mohamed Rafeeldeen

Graduate Research Assistant

Matheus Rocha

Visiting Ph.D. Student

John Albo

Student Researcher

Grace Alexander

Student Researcher

Lina Alvarez

Student Researcher

Lourlie Baniqued

Student Researcher

Terance Brien-Lewis

Student Researcher

Cice Kim
Cice Kim

Student Researcher

David Vetter

Student Researcher

Machenzie Wernsman

Student Researcher

2022 Belisle Lab in front of the Research Innovation Center (RIC)

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contact information

Office: Research Innovation Center room D111

Lab: Research Innovation Center room D139

(970) 491-8905