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Theresa Ho

Associate Research Scientist and Course Lecturer, Ellermeier LaboratoryTheresa Ho
Address: 200 EMRB

Email: theresa-ho@uiowa.edu


Professional Responsibilities

Associate Research Scientist, Ellermeier Laboratory

Course Director, MICR3165: Bacteria and Human Disease Lab and Discussion, University of Iowa

Course Lecturer, Mechanisms of Human Disease IV Microbiology, Carver College of Medicine

Course Instructor, Mechanisms of Human Disease IV Microbiology Laboratory, Carver College of Medicine

Honors in Microbiology and Immunology Undergraduate Advisor

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion



MS: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, James Slauch lab

PhD: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, James Slauch lab

Postdoctoral Fellowships:

Harvard Medical School, Michael Starnbach lab

Tufts Medical School, Waldor lab


Research Description

I study how Gram-positive pathogens like Clostridioides difficile (major cause of healthcare facility-associated diarrhea) and Bacillus anthracis (causative agent of anthrax) and B. cereus sense and protect themselves from environment stresses like antibiotics. I use and develop genetic tools to dissect signal transduction pathways in these organisms.



University of Iowa Staff Award for Distinguished Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

University of Iowa SPOT Award for Extra Meritorious Performance                  

University of Iowa Department of Microbiology & Immunology Exceptional Performance Award

National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship                                

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Francis Clark Award for Outstanding Teaching in Microbiology 



1. Nauta KM, Ho TD, Ellermeier CD. The Penicillin-Binding Protein PbpP Is a Sensor of β-Lactams and Is Required for Activation of the Extracytoplasmic Function σ Factor σP in Bacillus thuringiensis. mBio. 2021;12(2):e00179-21.

2. Ho TD, Nauta KM, Müh U, Ellermeier CD. Activation of the Extracytoplasmic Function σ factor σP by β-lactams in Bacillus thuringiensis requires the site-2 protease RasP. mSphere. 2019 Aug 28;4(4):e00511-19.

3. Schlievert, P.M., Kilgore, S.H., Kaus, G.M., Ho, TD and Ellermeier, C.D., 2018. Glycerol Monolaurate (GML) and a Nonaqueous Five-Percent GML Gel Kill Bacillus and Clostridium Spores. mSphere, 3(6), pp.e00597-18.

4. Ho TD, Ellermeier CD. Ferric uptake regulator Fur Control of Putative Iron Acquisition Systems in Clostridium. J. Bacteriol. 2015 Sep;197(18):2930-40.

5. Ho TD, Williams KB, Chen Y, Helm RF, Popham DL, Ellermeier CD. Clostridium difficile Extra-Cytoplasmic Function σ factor σV regulates lysozyme resistance and is necessary for pathogenesis in the hamster model of infection. Infect Immun. 2014 Jun;82(6):2345-55.

6. Pérez Morales TG, Ho TD, Liu WT, Dorrestein PC, Ellermeier CD. Production of the Cannibalism Toxin SDP Is a Multistep Process That Requires SdpA and SdpB. J Bacteriol. 2013 Jul;195(14):3244-51.

7. Ho TD, Ellermeier CD. Extra cytoplasmic function σ factor activation. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2012 Apr;15(2):182-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2012.01.001. Epub 2012 Feb 28. Review.

8. Ho TD, Hastie JL, Intile PJ, Ellermeier CD. The Bacillus subtilis extracytoplasmic function σ factor σ(V) is induced by lysozyme and provides resistance to lysozyme. J Bacteriol. 2011 Nov;193(22):6215-22.

9. Ho TD, Ellermeier CD. PrsW is required for colonization, resistance to antimicrobial peptides, and expression of extracytoplasmic function σ factors in Clostridium difficile. Infect Immun. 2011 Aug;79(8):3229-38.

10. Ho TD, Davis BM, Ritchie JM, Waldor MK. Type 2 secretion promotes enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli adherence and intestinal colonization. Infect Immun. 2008 May;76(5):1858-65.

11. Ritchie JM, Brady MJ, Riley KN, Ho TD, Campellone KG, Herman IM, Donohue-Rolfe A, Tzipori S, Waldor MK, Leong JM. EspFU, a type III-translocated effector of actin assembly, fosters epithelial association and late-stage intestinal colonization by E. coli O157:H7. Cell Microbiol. 2008 Apr;10(4):836-47.

12. Ho TD, Waldor MK. Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 gal mutants are sensitive to bacteriophage P1 and defective in intestinal colonization. Infect Immun. 2007 Apr;75(4):1661-6.

13. Ho TD, Starnbach MN. The Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium-encoded type III secretion systems can translocate Chlamydia trachomatis proteins into the cytosol of host cells. Infect Immun. 2005 Feb;73(2):905-11.

14. Ho TD, Figueroa-Bossi N, Wang M, Uzzau S, Bossi L, Slauch JM. Identification of GtgE, a novel virulence factor encoded on the Gifsy-2 bacteriophage of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. J Bacteriol. 2002 Oct;184(19):5234-9.

15. Ho TD, Slauch JM. OmpC is the receptor for Gifsy-1 and Gifsy-2 bacteriophages of Salmonella. J Bacteriol. 2001 Feb;183(4):1495-8.