Jackson Lab

The Jackson laboratory, as part of the Mycobacteria Research Laboratories, investigates the structure, biosynthesis and transport of cell envelope lipids and (lipo)polysaccharides playing important roles in the physiology and pathogenicity of mycobacteria.

Our laboratory also studies Mycobacterium leprae (the causative agent of leprosy) and emerging non-tuberculous mycobacterial pathogens, the strategies used by these organisms to persist in the environment, and their molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity and resistance to biocides.

Another aspect of our research concerns the development of anti-mycobacterial drugs and the study of their mechanism of action.

research project

Mycobacterial cell envelope (lipo)polysaccharides

Together with immunologists in the MRL and synthetic chemists outside of the University, the Jackson lab investigates how Mycobacterium tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) synthesize their unique cell envelope polysaccharides and how they alter the structure of these glycans to promote their persistence in the infected host.

research project

Inhibition of mycolic acid biosynthesis

Mycolic acids are major constituents of the outer membrane of mycobacteria and are essential for growth. The Jackson lab is leading international, multidisciplinary, research projects whose objectives are to understand how mycolic acids are synthesized and transported to the outer membrane and to design inhibitors capable of blocking outer membrane assembly.

research project

Leprosy transmission and antibiotic resistance

The Jackson Lab conducts research on the two uncultivable leprosy agents, Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. We explore the genomic epidemiology of leprosy in the context of human-animal transmission and antibiotic resistance and develop molecular tools to detect the pathogens in clinical samples and simultaneously monitor response to treatment.

research project

Recombinant BCG-based COVID-19 vaccine

Mycobacterium bovis BCG, the only approved TB vaccine, is a vaccine platform of choice for the recombinant expression of heterologous antigens owing to its ability to produce long-lasting CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses and its natural adjuvant properties. The Jackson lab is leading a CSU team to develop a recombinant BCG-based COVID-19 vaccine conferring long-lasting protective immunity.


Proton transfer activity of the reconstituted Mycobacterium tuberculosis MmpL3 is modulated by substrate mimics and inhibitors.

Stevens CM, Babii SO, Pandya AN, Li W, Li Y, Mehla J, Scott R, Hegde P, Prathipati PK, Acharya A, Liu J, Gumbart JC, North J, Jackson M, Zgurskaya HI.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jul 26;119(30):e2113963119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2113963119. Epub 2022 Jul 19. PMID: 35858440

Mycobacterium leprae Infection in a Wild Nine-Banded Armadillo, Nuevo León, Mexico.

Vera-Cabrera L, Ramos-Cavazos CJ, Youssef NA, Pearce CM, Molina-Torres CA, Avalos-Ramirez R, Gagneux S, Ocampo-Candiani J, Gonzalez-Juarrero M, Mayorga-Rodriguez JA, Mayorga-Garibaldi L, Spencer JS, Jackson M, Avanzi C.
Emerg Infect Dis. 2022 Mar;28(3):747-749. doi: 10.3201/eid2803.211295. PMID: 35202538

Therapeutic efficacy of antimalarial drugs targeting DosRS signaling in Mycobacterium abscessus.

Belardinelli JM, Verma D, Li W, Avanzi C, Wiersma CJ, Williams JT, Johnson BK, Zimmerman M, Whittel N, Angala B, Wang H, Jones V, Dartois V, de Moura VCN, Gonzalez-Juarrero M, Pearce C, Schenkel AR, Malcolm KC, Nick JA, Charman SA, Wells TNC, Podell BK, Vennerstrom JL, Ordway DJ, Abramovitch RB, Jackson M.
Sci Transl Med. 2022 Feb 23;14(633):eabj3860. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abj3860. Epub 2022 Feb 23. PMID: 35196022

Transporters Involved in the Biogenesis and Functionalization of the Mycobacterial Cell Envelope.

Jackson M, Stevens CM, Zhang L, Zgurskaya HI, Niederweis M.
Chem Rev. 2021 May 12;121(9):5124-5157. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.0c00869. Epub 2020 Nov 10. PMID: 33170669

Stepwise pathogenic evolution of Mycobacterium abscessus.

Bryant JM, Brown KP, Burbaud S, Everall I, Belardinelli JM, Rodriguez-Rincon D, Grogono DM, Peterson CM, Verma D, Evans IE, Ruis C, Weimann A, Arora D, Malhotra S, Bannerman B, Passemar C, Templeton K, MacGregor G, Jiwa K, Fisher AJ, Blundell TL, Ordway DJ, Jackson M, Parkhill J, Floto RA.
Science. 2021 Apr 30;372(6541):eabb8699. doi: 10.1126/science.abb8699. PMID: 33926925

more publications


Mary Jackson, Ph.D.

Lab Principal Investigator [PI]

Shiva Kumar Angala, Ph.D.

Research Scientist II

Juan Belardinelli, Ph.D.

Research Scientist II

Anna Grzegorzewicz, Ph.D.

Research Scientist II

Wei Li, Ph.D.

Research Scientist II

Bill Wheat, Ph.D.

Research Scientist II

Zuzana Palcekova, Ph.D.

Research Scientist I
Lab Manager

Kavita De, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Bhanupriya Angala

Research Associate I

Elena Lian

Graduate Researcher

Lauren Bennett

Student Researcher

Ria Janapati

Student Researcher

Alaine Warren


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