Brian Michael Luna, PhD

Assistant Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

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In the United States there has been a rapid increase in the disease burden caused by antibiotic resistant members of the ESKAPE pathogens: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter species. More than 2,000,000 illnesses and 23,000 deaths were attributed to antibiotic resistant infections in the US in 2013, with an added $20 billion dollar cost to the healthcare system. Continued research is needed to understand antibiotic tolerance mechanisms for the purpose of developing the next generation of therapeutics that can subvert these mechanisms.

I am interested in the study of antibiotic tolerance mechanisms by bacterial pathogens; including both antibiotic resistance and antibiotic persister cell formation. Better understanding of antibiotic tolerance mechanisms will guide improved therapeutic strategies for combating these infections. We use multiple research strategies including synthetic biology, microbial genetics, next-generation sequencing, and preclinical mouse models in our work.


  • Population pharmacokinetics and humanized dosage regimens matching the peak, area, trough, and range of amikacin plasma concentrations in immune-competent murine bloodstream and lung infection models Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2024 Mar 06; 68(3):e0139423. . View in PubMed
  • Improved characterization of aminoglycoside penetration into human lung epithelial lining fluid via population pharmacokinetics Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2024 Feb 07; 68(2):e0139323. . View in PubMed
  • Clinical assays rapidly predict bacterial susceptibility to monoclonal antibody therapy JCI Insight. 2024 Jan 23; 9(2). . View in PubMed
  • Therapeutic, Humanized Monoclonal Antibody Exhibits Broad Binding and Protective Efficacy against Acinetobacter baumannii Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2023 03 16; 67(3):e0008623. . View in PubMed
  • Development of a Bispecific Antibody Targeting Clinical Isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii J Infect Dis. 2023 04 26; 227(9):1042-1049. . View in PubMed
  • Individual Components of Polymyxin B Modeled via Population Pharmacokinetics to Design Humanized Dosage Regimens for a Bloodstream and Lung Infection Model in Immune-Competent Mice Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2023 05 17; 67(5):e0019723. . View in PubMed
  • Defining the minimum inhibitory concentration of 22 rifamycins in iron limited, physiologic medium against Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae clinical isolates PLoS One. 2023; 18(6):e0287102. . View in PubMed
  • Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Performed in RPMI 1640 Reveals Azithromycin Efficacy against Carbapenem-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and Predicts In Vivo Outcomes in Galleria mellonella Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2023 01 24; 67(1):e0132022. . View in PubMed
  • A protein-free vaccine stimulates innate immunity and protects against nosocomial pathogens Sci Transl Med. 2023 10 04; 15(716):eadf9556. . View in PubMed
  • Acacia Fiber Protects the Gut from Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase (ESBL)-Producing Escherichia coli Colonization Enabled by Antibiotics mSphere. 2022 06 29; 7(3):e0007122. . View in PubMed
  • Environmental Spread of Antibiotic Resistance Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 May 27; 10(6). . View in PubMed
  • Capsule carbohydrate structure determines virulence in Acinetobacter baumannii PLoS Pathog. 2021 02; 17(2):e1009291. . View in PubMed
  • In Vitro Activity of Rifabutin and Rifampin against Antibiotic-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae mSphere. 2021 12 22; 6(6):e0092021. . View in PubMed
  • Synergistic Rifabutin and Colistin Reduce Emergence of Resistance When Treating Acinetobacter baumannii Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2021 03 18; 65(4). . View in PubMed
  • Monoclonal Antibody Therapy against Acinetobacter baumannii Infect Immun. 2021 09 16; 89(10):e0016221. . View in PubMed
  • Monoclonal Antibody Requires Immunomodulation for Efficacy Against Acinetobacter baumannii Infection J Infect Dis. 2021 12 15; 224(12):2133-2147. . View in PubMed
  • Pharmacology, Dosing, and Side Effects of Rifabutin as a Possible Therapy for Antibiotic-Resistant Acinetobacter Infections Open Forum Infect Dis. 2020 Nov; 7(11):ofaa460. . View in PubMed
  • The Bactericidal Activity and Spore Inhibition Effect of Manuka Honey against Clostridioides Difficile Antibiotics (Basel). 2020 Oct 09; 9(10). . View in PubMed
  • Horizontal Gene Transfer of Antibiotic Resistance from Acinetobacter baylyi to Escherichia coli on Lettuce and Subsequent Antibiotic Resistance Transmission to the Gut Microbiome mSphere. 2020 May 27; 5(3). . View in PubMed
  • A nutrient-limited screen unmasks rifabutin hyperactivity for extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii Nat Microbiol. 2020 09; 5(9):1134-1143. . View in PubMed
  • FDA Public Workshop Summary: Advancing Animal Models for Antibacterial Drug Development Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2020 12 16; 65(1). . View in PubMed
  • Apotransferrin in Combination with Ciprofloxacin Slows Bacterial Replication, Prevents Resistance Amplification, and Increases Antimicrobial Regimen Effect Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2019 05; 63(5). . View in PubMed
  • Adjunctive transferrin to reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria J Antimicrob Chemother. 2019 09 01; 74(9):2631-2639. . View in PubMed
  • Vaccines targeting Staphylococcus aureus skin and bloodstream infections require different composition PLoS One. 2019; 14(6):e0217439. . View in PubMed
  • Natural history of Acinetobacter baumannii infection in mice PLoS One. 2019; 14(7):e0219824. . View in PubMed
  • Joint solution for PET image segmentation, denoising, and partial volume correction Med Image Anal. 2018 05; 46:229-243. . View in PubMed
  • Pharmacokinetics of rifapentine and rifampin in a rabbit model of tuberculosis and correlation with clinical trial data Sci Transl Med. 2018 04 04; 10(435). . View in PubMed
  • Microfluidic filter device with nylon mesh membranes efficiently dissociates cell aggregates and digested tissue into single cells Lab Chip. 2018 09 11; 18(18):2776-2786. . View in PubMed
  • Murine Oropharyngeal Aspiration Model of Ventilator-associated and Hospital-acquired Bacterial Pneumonia J Vis Exp. 2018 06 28; (136). . View in PubMed
  • Selectable Markers for Use in Genetic Manipulation of Extensively Drug-Resistant (XDR) Acinetobacter baumannii HUMC1 mSphere. 2017 Mar-Apr; 2(2). . View in PubMed
  • Clinical and Pathophysiological Overview of Acinetobacter Infections: a Century of Challenges Clin Microbiol Rev. 2017 01; 30(1):409-447. . View in PubMed
  • Evaluation of serotypes 5 and 8 capsular polysaccharides in protection against Staphylococcus aureus in murine models of infection Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2017 07 03; 13(7):1609-1614. . View in PubMed
  • Diabetes Exacerbates Infection via Hyperinflammation by Signaling through TLR4 and RAGE mBio. 2017 08 22; 8(4). . View in PubMed
  • Monoclonal Antibody Protects Against Acinetobacter baumannii Infection by Enhancing Bacterial Clearance and Evading Sepsis J Infect Dis. 2017 08 15; 216(4):489-501. . View in PubMed
  • Cathepsin K Contributes to Cavitation and Collagen Turnover in Pulmonary Tuberculosis J Infect Dis. 2016 Feb 15; 213(4):618-27. . View in PubMed
  • Computer-aided pulmonary image analysis in small animal models Med Phys. 2015 Jul; 42(7):3896-910. . View in PubMed
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis dysregulates MMP/TIMP balance to drive rapid cavitation and unrestrained bacterial proliferation J Pathol. 2015 Feb; 235(3):431-44. . View in PubMed
  • In vivo prediction of tuberculosis-associated cavity formation in rabbits J Infect Dis. 2015 Feb 01; 211(3):481-5. . View in PubMed
  • Segmentation of PET images for computer-aided functional quantification of tuberculosis in small animal models IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2014 Mar; 61(3):711-24. . View in PubMed
  • Computer-aided detection and quantification of cavitary tuberculosis from CT scans Med Phys. 2013 Nov; 40(11):113701. . View in PubMed
  • A computational pipeline for quantification of pulmonary infections in small animal models using serial PET-CT imaging EJNMMI Res. 2013 Jul 23; 3(1):55. . View in PubMed
  • Gene expression of Mycobacterium tuberculosis putative transcription factors whiB1-7 in redox environments PLoS One. 2012; 7(7):e37516. . View in PubMed
  • Injection of dsRNA into female Aaegypti mosquitos. J Vis Exp. 2007; (5):215. . View in PubMed

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