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Michael Starnbach, Ph.D.

Professor, Harvard Medical School, Leader Project #1

Contact Information


About Michael

Dr. Starnbach received his A.B. degree in biology from Vassar College.  He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Stanford University, conducting research in the molecular mechanisms bacteria use to invade the host.  Before coming to Harvard Medical School, Dr. Starnbach pursued postdoctoral research in immunology at the University of Washington, applying modern immunological techniques to the problem of bacterial infection.  He has been at Harvard Medical School since 1995 and is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology.

Research Interests

Research in Dr. Starnbach’s lab uses a combination of cellular and molecular approaches in the analysis of host responses to bacterial pathogens.  Many virulence factors have been identified that allow bacteria to survive and replicate within the mammalian host and often within host cells.  Dr. Starnbach has focused on the consequences of these survival strategies, specifically asking how bacterial virulence factors subvert or inhibit host responses allowing for chronic infection.  His lab has led the efforts to dissect antigen specific T cell responses to chronic bacterial infection, including Chlamydia trachomatis.

Recent Publications

PubMed - Starbach MN

  1. An Excess of the Proinflammatory Cytokines IFN-γ and IL-12 Impairs the Development of the Memory CD8+ T Cell Response to Chlamydia trachomatis.
    Zhang X, Starnbach MN.
    J Immunol. 2015 Aug 15;195(4):1665-75. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1500457. PMID: 26179901
  2. VACCINES. A mucosal vaccine against Chlamydia trachomatis generates two waves of protective memory T cells.
    Stary G, Olive A, Radovic-Moreno AF, Gondek D, Alvarez D, Basto PA, Perro M, Vrbanac VD, Tager AM, Shi J, Yethon JA, Farokhzad OC, Langer R, Starnbach MN, von Andrian UH.
    Science. 2015 Jun 19;348(6241):aaa8205. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa8205. PMID: 26089520
  3. PD-L1 limits the mucosal CD8+ T cell response to Chlamydia trachomatis.
    Fankhauser SC, Starnbach MN.
    J Immunol. 2014 Feb 1;192(3):1079-90. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1301657. PMID: 24353266
  4. Antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells fail to respond to Shigella flexneri.
    Jehl SP, Doling AM, Giddings KS, Phalipon A, Sansonetti PJ, Goldberg MB, Starnbach MN.
    Infect Immun. 2011 May;79(5):2021-30. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00939-10. PMID: 21357720
  5. Antigen-specific CD8+ T cells respond to Chlamydia trachomatis in the genital mucosa.
    Roan NR, Starnbach MN.
    J Immunol. 2006 Dec 1;177(11):7974-9. PMID: 17114470
  6. Chlamydia trachomatis infection induces cleavage of the mitotic cyclin B1.
    Balsara ZR, Misaghi S, Lafave JN, Starnbach MN.
    Infect Immun. 2006 Oct;74(10):5602-8. PMID: 16988235
  7. Chlamydia trachomatis infection alters the development of memory CD8+ T cells.
    Loomis WP, Starnbach MN.
    J Immunol. 2006 Sep 15;177(6):4021-7. PMID: 16951365
  8. Monitoring the T cell response to genital tract infection.
    Roan NR, Gierahn TM, Higgins DE, Starnbach MN.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Aug 8;103(32):12069-74. PMID: 16880389
  9. Chlamydia trachomatis-derived deubiquitinating enzymes in mammalian cells during infection.
    Misaghi S, Balsara ZR, Catic A, Spooner E, Ploegh HL, Starnbach MN.
    Mol Microbiol. 2006 Jul;61(1):142-50. PMID: 16824101
  10. Developmental regulation of Chlamydia trachomatis class I accessible protein-1, a CD8+ T cell antigen.
    Balsara ZR, Roan NR, Steele LN, Starnbach MN.
    J Infect Dis. 2006 May 15;193(10):1459-63. PMID: 16619195
  11. Stimulation of CD8+ T cells following diphtheria toxin-mediated antigen delivery into dendritic cells.
    Shaw CA, Starnbach MN.
    Infect Immun. 2006 Feb;74(2):1001-8. PMID: 16428746
  12. Salmonella inhibit T cell proliferation by a direct, contact-dependent immunosuppressive effect.
    van der Velden AW, Copass MK, Starnbach MN.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Dec 6;102(49):17769-74. PMID: 16306269
  13. The Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium-encoded type III secretion systems can translocate Chlamydia trachomatis proteins into the cytosol of host cells.
    Ho TD, Starnbach MN.
    Infect Immun. 2005 Feb;73(2):905-11. PMID: 15664932
  14. Salmonella rapidly kill dendritic cells via a caspase-1-dependent mechanism.
    van der Velden AW, Velasquez M, Starnbach MN.
    J Immunol. 2003 Dec 15;171(12):6742-9. PMID: 14662878
  15. CD8+ T cells recognize an inclusion membrane-associated protein from the vacuolar pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis.
    Fling SP, Sutherland RA, Steele LN, Hess B, D'Orazio SE, Maisonneuve J, Lampe MF, Probst P, Starnbach MN.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jan 30;98(3):1160-5. PMID: 11158611
  16. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte epitopes fused to anthrax toxin induce protective antiviral immunity.
    Doling AM, Ballard JD, Shen H, Krishna KM, Ahmed R, Collier RJ, Starnbach MN.
    Infect Immun. 1999 Jul;67(7):3290-6. PMID: 10377103
  17. Anthrax toxin-mediated delivery of a cytotoxic T-cell epitope in vivo.
    Ballard JD, Collier RJ, Starnbach MN.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Oct 29;93(22):12531-4. PMID: 8901616
  18. Genetically modified anthrax lethal toxin safely delivers whole HIV protein antigens into the cytosol to induce T cell immunity.
    Lu Y, Friedman R, Kushner N, Doling A, Thomas L, Touzjian N, Starnbach M, Lieberman J.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Jul 5;97(14):8027-32. PMID: 10884430