Robert Faris

Associate Research Scientist and Course Lecturer, Weber LaboratoryRobert Faris
Address: 3-334 BSB



Undergraduate Institution: Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas   - B.S. Criminal Justice
Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas - B.S. Biology

MS Institution: Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas - Biology

PhD Institution: The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas - Cellular and Molecular Biology      

Postdoctoral Positions: National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)
Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases
Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, Montana  Postdoctoral Fellow in laboratory of Dr Suzette Priola                                                                                       

Research Description

I am interested in dissecting out the molecular mechanisms by which intracellular pathogens, such as C. trachomatis and C. burnetii subvert the host immune response and establish their unique replicative niche within the host cell. Additionally, I am working towards understanding how these important human pathogens hijack host bioenergetic pathways to subvert host cell death and divert biochemical energy to the growing vacuole.


1. Faris R, McCullough A, Andersen SE, Moninger T, Weber MM. The Chlamydia trachomatis secreted effector TmeA hijacks the N-WASP-ARP2/3 actin remodeling axis to facilitate cellular invasion, PLOS Pathogens In Review.

2. Faris R, Weber MM. Propagation and Purification of Chlamydia trachomatis Serovar L2 Transformants and Mutants, BioProtocol. 2019. 9(24).

3. Faris R, Andersen S, McCullough A, Gourronc F, Klingelhutz AJ, Weber MM. Chlamydia trachomatis serovars drive differential production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines depending on the type of cell infected, Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2019 26. PMID: 32039039. DOI: 10.3389/fcimb.2019.00399.

4. Faris R, Weber MM. Identification of Host Pathways Targeted by Bacterial Effector Proteins using Yeast Toxicity and Suppressor Screens, J Vis Exp. 2019 October 25(152). PMID:31710035. DOI: 10.3791/60488.

5. Chen C, van Schaik EJ, Gregory AE, Vigil A, Felgner PL, Hendrix LR, Faris R, Samuel JE. Chemokine Receptor 7 is essential for Coxiella burnetiid whole-cell vaccine-induced cellular immunity but dispensable for vaccine-mediated protective immunity, J Inf Dis 2019(220):624-34. PMID: 30938819.  DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jiz146.

6. Faris R., Merling M., Andersen SE, Dooley C, Hackstadt T, Weber MM. The Chlamydia trachomatis inclusion membrane protein CT229 subverts multiple Rab GTPase dependent Clathrin coated vesicle trafficking pathways to promote chlamydial infection. Cell Rep 2019 Mar 19;26(12):3380-3390.e5.  PMID: 30893609. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.02.079.  

7. Weber MM, Faris R. Mutagenesis of Chlamydia trachomatis using TargeTron. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;2042:165-184. PMID: 31385276. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9694-0_12.

8. Weber MM and Faris R. Subversion of the endocytic and secretory pathways by bacterial effector proteins. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2018 Jan 24;6:1. PMID: 29417046. DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2018.00001.

9. Weber MM, Faris R., van Schaik EJ, Samuel JE. Identification and characterization of arginine finger-like motifs, and endosome-lysosome-basolateral sorting signals within ectopically expressed CirA, a Coxiella burnetii type IV secreted effector protein. Microbes Infect. 2018 Jan 10. pii: S1286-4579(18)30002-9. PMID: 29331581. DOI: 10.1016/j.micinf.2017.12.013.

10. Faris R, Moore RA, Ward A, and Priola SA. Mitochondrial respiration is impaired during late stage hamster prion infection. J Virol. 2017 Jun 28. pii: JVI.00524-17. PMID: 28659480. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00524-17. 

11. Faris R, Moore RA, Ward A, Race B, Dorward D, Hollister JR, and Priola SA. Cellular prion protein is present in mitochondria of healthy mice. Scientific Reports. 2017 Feb 2;7:41556. PMID: 28148964. DOI: 10.1038/srep41556.

12. Moore, RA, Choi, YP, Head, MW, Ironside, JW, Faris R,  Ritchie, DL, and Priola, SA. The relative abundance of ApoE and Aβ1-42 associated with abnormal prion protein differs between Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease subtypes. J Proteome Res. 2016 Dec 2;15(12):4518-4531.  PMID: 27597180. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.6b00633. 

13. Weber MM, Faris R, van Schaik EJ, McLachlan JT, Wright WU, Tellez A, Roman, VA Rowin, K Case ED, Luo ZQ, Samuel JE. The type IV secreted effector protein CirA stimulates the GTPase activity of RhoA and is required for virulence in a mouse model of Coxiella burnetii infection. Infection and Immunity. 2016 Aug 19;84(9):2524-33.  PMID: 27324482. DOI: 10.1128/IAI.01554-15.

14. Weber MM, Faris R, McLachlan J, Wright WU, Tellez A, Galvan G, Luo ZQ, Samuel JE. Modulation of the host transcriptome by Coxiella burnetii nuclear effector Cbu1314. Microbes and Infection. 2016 May;18(5):336-45. PMID: 26827929. DOI: 10.1016/j.micinf.2016.01.003.

15. Faris R, Weber MM, Seeger D, Cavazos D, deGraffenried L, Murphy EJ, Jolly CA. Mitochondrial Glycerol-3-phosphate Acyltransferase Dependent Phospholipid Synthesis Modulates Phospholipid Mass and IL-2 Production in Jurkat T cells. Lipids. 2016 Mar;51(3):291-301. PMID: 26797755. DOI: 10.1007/s11745-016-4121-5. 

16. Moore RA, Faris R, Priola SA. Proteomics applications in prion biology and structure. Expert Rev Proteomics. 2015 Apr;12(2):171-84. PMID: 25795148. DOI: 10.1586/14789450.2015.1019481. 

17. De Angulo A, Faris R, Daniel B, Jolly CA, deGraffenried L. Age-related increase in IL-17 activates pro-inflammatory signaling in prostate cells. Prostate. 2015 Apr 1;75(5):449-62. PMID: 25560177. DOI: 10.1002/pros.22931. 

18. Faris R, Fan Y, deAngulo A, Chapkin R., deGraffenried L, and Jolly C. Mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase-1 is essential for murine CD4+ T cell metabolic activation. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Oct;1842(10):1475-82. PMID: 25066474. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2014.07.009. 

19. De Angulo A, Faris R, Cavazos D, Jolly C, Daniel B, & Degraffenried L. Age-related alterations in T-lymphocytes modulate key pathways in prostate tumorigenesis. The Prostate, 73(8), 855–64.doi:10.1002/pros.22631. PMID: 23532664. DOI: 10.1002/pros.22631. 


2014-2017      Postdoctoral Intramural Research Training Award -  NIH/NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories                                                                                                                                          

2007               Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology Student Fellowship -  University of Texas at Austin     


  • Laboratory Instructor of the Year, The University of Texas at Austin (2012)
  • Monetary Recruitment Incentive for Outstanding Incoming Doctoral Students, The University of Texas at Texas (2007)
  • Special Graduate Student Scholarship, Sam Houston State University (2006)
  • Student Research Grant for the study of activation in spore forming Bacillus stearothermophilus NGB 101, Sam Houston State University (2006)
  • Superior Presentation in Molecular and Cell Biology: A Novel Quantitative Assay for the Detection of West Nile Virus Antigen and RT-PCR Amplicon Using Electrochemical Detection, Sigma Xi (2006)
  • Best Poster: Endospore Activation may be Directly Related to a Change in Spore Coat Permeability Ultimately Leading to the Initiation of Metabolism in Bacillus stearothermophilus NGB 101, ASM Texas Branch Meeting (2007)