Jackson Lab

The Jackson laboratory, as part of the Mycobacteria Research Laboratories  and NTM Basic and Translational Research Center, 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.


Mechanical morphotype switching as an adaptive response in mycobacteria.
Eskandarian HA, Chen YX, Toniolo C, Belardinelli JM, Palcekova Z, Hom L, Ashby PD, Fantner GE, Jackson M, McKinney JD, Javid B. Sci Adv. 2024 Jan 5;10(1):eadh7957. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adh7957. Epub 2024 Jan 3. PMID: 38170768

Clinically relevant mutations in the PhoR sensor kinase of host-adapted Mycobacterium abscessus isolates impact response to acidic pH and virulence.
Belardinelli JM, Arora D, Avanzi C, Wheat WH, Bryant JM, Spencer JS, Blundell TL, Parkhill J, Floto RA, Jackson M. Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Dec 12;11(6):e0158823. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.01588-23. Epub 2023 Oct 24. PMID: 37874174

Acylation of glycerolipids in mycobacteria.
Angala SK, Carreras-Gonzalez A, Huc-Claustre E, Anso I, Kaur D, Jones V, Palčeková Z, Belardinelli JM, de Sousa-d’Auria C, Shi L, Slama N, Houssin C, Quémard A, McNeil M, Guerin ME, Jackson M. Nat Commun. 2023 Oct 23;14(1):6694. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-42478-x. PMID: 37872138

Discovery, Synthesis, and Optimization of 1,2,4-Triazolyl Pyridines Targeting Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Berida T, McKee SR, Chatterjee S, Manning DL, Li W, Pandey P, Tripathi SK, Mreyoud Y, Smirnov A, Doerksen RJ, Jackson M, Ducho C, Stallings CL, Roy S. ACS Infect Dis. 2023 Nov 10;9(11):2282-2298. doi: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.3c00341. Epub 2023 Oct 3. PMID: 37788674

Role of succinyl substituents in the mannose-capping of lipoarabinomannan and control of inflammation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.
Palčeková Z, Obregón-Henao A, De K, Walz A, Lam H, Philp J, Angala SK, Patterson J, Pearce C, Zuberogoitia S, Avanzi C, Nigou J, McNeil M, Muñoz Gutiérrez JF, Gilleron M, Wheat WH, Gonzalez-Juarrero M, Jackson M. PLoS Pathog. 2023 Sep 5;19(9):e1011636. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1011636. eCollection 2023 Sep. PMID: 37669276

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

Maritza Soto-Ojeda

Research Associate II

Kavita De, Ph.D.

Research Scientist I

Elena Lian

Graduate Researcher

Icon of a person on a green background.
Kelsey Martin

Graduate Research Assistant

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contact information

Lab: Microbiology rooms B425, B426, B427

Office: Microbiology room B423A

(970) 491-4067