Chelsie E. Armbruster PhD

Chelsie Armbruster

Chelsie E. Armbruster
PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences


Specialty/Research Focus

Bacterial Pathogenesis; Infectious Disease; Microbial Pathogenesis; Microbiology

Contact Information
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Room 5218
955 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: (716) 829-6059
chelsiea@buffalo.edu



Professional Summary:

My laboratory is broadly focused on investigating microbe-microbe interactions, host-microbe interactions, and patient characteristics that influence disease severity. Our primary disease model is catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), one of the most common healthcare-associated infections worldwide. Long-term use of indwelling catheters, which is common for management of certain conditions particularly in aging populations, results in continuous urine colonization by bacteria (bacteriuria) and can lead to infections of the bladder (cystitis), kidneys (pyelonephritis), and bloodstream (bacteremia).

My lab uses a combination of basic science and patient-oriented research, with the long-term goals of 1) identifying the uropathogen(s) most likely to cause symptomatic infection and adverse outcomes in patients, 2) utilizing an experimental model of infection to identify key virulence factors of these organisms, and 3) developing inhibitors of the identified virulence factors to reduce colonization and infection severity in vulnerable patient populations. As bacteriuria and CAUTI are frequently polymicrobial, which can influence the progression of the infection and the efficacy of antibiotic therapy, a major emphasis of this work is on understanding the contribution of polymicrobial colonization and microbe-microbe interactions to infection progression.

We recently identified the Gram-negative bacterium Proteus mirabilis as the most common cause of CAUTI in a cohort of nursing home residents, including cases of polymicrobial infection. P. mirabilis is well-known for its potent urease enzyme, which produces ammonia from the hydrolysis of urea in urine and leads to high urine pH, precipitation of polyvalent ions, and formation of urinary stones (urolithiasis). We determined that P. mirabilis urease activity can be modulated by other uropathogens in vitro and in vivo, contributing to the degree of tissue damage and risk of bacteremia. Enhancement of urease activity occurs with numerous isolates of P. mirabilis during co-culture with most of the other common uropathogens, including Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, while Morganella morganii dampens urease activity. Therefore, one project in the lab focuses on defining the underlying mechanism(s) of urease activity modulation and determining its potential as a therapeutic target.

Another focus of the lab is utilizing genome-wide screens to uncover new genes that contribute to pathogenesis during both monomicrobial and polymicrobial infection. We are using transposon insertion-site sequencing (Tn-Seq) to identify the full potential arsenal of P. mirabilis fitness and virulence factors during experimental CAUTI, including core factors that contribute to pathogenicity under all infection conditions tested, and accessory factors that are only required under certain infection conditions.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Microbiology and Immunology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine (2011)
  • BS, Biotechnology, Rochester Institute of Technology (2007)

Employment:

  • Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, State University of New York at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2017-present)
  • Research Investigator, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School (2016–2017)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School (2011–2016)
  • Graduate Student, Microbiology and Immunology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine (2007–2011)

Awards and Honors:

  • Nominated and selected to contribute a minireview to the early career scientist collection (2020)
  • Travel Award (2019)
  • Travel Award (2014)
  • American Society for Microbiology Travel Award (2014)
  • Travel Award (2013)
  • University of Michigan Department of Microbiology and Immunology Travel Award (2013)
  • Gordan A. Melson Outstanding Student Award Nominee and runner-up (2011)
  • Travel Award (2011)
  • Mid-Atlantic Microbial Pathogenesis Meeting Travel Award (2011)
  • Gordon A. Melson Outstanding Student Award Nominee/Runner-up (2011)
  • Travel Award (2010)
  • NIH National Graduate Student Research Festival Travel Award (2010)
  • CAP Student Travel Award (2009)
  • Best Poster Award (2009)
  • CAP Student Travel Award (2009)
  • Best Poster Award (2009)
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award (2006)
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar (2006)
  • Honors Program Scholarship (2004)
  • Honors Program Scholarship (2004)
  • Presidential Merit Scholarship (2003)
  • Presidential Merit Scholarship (2003)

Research Expertise:

  • Bacterial pathogens: Proteus mirabilis, Providencia stuartii, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis
  • Motility: Swimming and swarming
  • Polymicrobial infections: Urinary tract infection (UTI), catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), bacteremia, otitis-media
  • Urease: Enzymatic activity during co-culture of uropathogens, and contribution to pathogenesis

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • September 2019–May 2024
    Conserved Proteus mirabilis genetic requirements for colonization of the catheterized urinary tract
    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • June 2020–May 2022
    Genetic susceptibility to mucosal infections with aging
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
  • January 2018–December 2021
    Pathogenesis of Polymicrobial Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection
    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • September 2015–August 2017
    Pathogenesis of Polymicrobial Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection
    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $194,400
  • August 2016–July 2017
    Influence of aging on Proteus mirabilis urinary tract infection
    University of Michigan Geriatrics Center
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $40,000
  • June 2012–May 2015
    Proteus mirabilis swarming: Initiation and role during urinary tract infection
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $156,498
  • April 2014–October 2014
    Synergistic urease activity in polymicrobial catheter-associated urinary tract infections
    University of Michigan Grants and Awards Program
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator

Journal Articles:

See all (16 more)

Books and Book Chapters:


Professional Memberships:

  • Urinary Tract Infection Global Alliance biennial international meeting; Conference co-organizer (2020–2021)
  • Urinary Tract Infection Global Alliance (UTIGA); Member (2019–present)
  • NIDDK CAUTI Technology Workshop Basic Sciences breakout discussion; Session Co-Chair (2019)
  • Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis annual meeting; Conference co-organizer (2018–present)
  • Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology; Member (2017–present)
  • Western New York branch, American Society for Microbiology; Member (2017–present)
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America (2016–present)
  • University of Michigan Postdoctoral Association, Microbiology & Immunology department; President (2015–2016)
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America; Member (2015–2016)
  • American Society for Microbiology Michigan branch meeting; Conference co-organizer (2015)
  • 1st ASM Conference on Polymicrobial Infections, American Society for Microbiology; Session co-chair (2014)
  • Association for Women in Science, Michigan chapter; Member (2011–2017)
  • University of Michigan Postdoctoral Association, Microbiology & Immunology department; Member (2011–2017)
  • University of Michigan Postdoctoral Association; Member (2011–2017)
  • Michigan branch, American Society for Microbiology; Member (2011–2017)
  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM); Member (2005–present)
  • American Society for Microbiology (2004–present)
See all (7 more)

Presentations:

  • "Implications of polymicrobial urine colonization in catheterized nursing home residents" Western New York ASM Spring Symposium (2020)
  • "Prevalence and implications of polymicrobial urine colonization during long-term catheterization" Genome Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence (GEM) (2020)
  • "Role of Nickel Import and Nickel Metalloenzymes in Proteus mirabilis Pathogenesis" University at Buffalo, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Department of Microbiology and Immunology (2020)
  • "Polymicrobial Interactions in the Catheterized Urinary Tract: the Mor-ganella the Merrier?" Texas A&M University, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Department of Veterinary Pathology (2020)
  • "Implications of Polymicrobial Bacteriuria in Catheterized Nursing Home Residents" American Society for Microbiology annual meeting (Microbe 2020) (2020)
  • "Proteus mirabilis and friends: polymicrobial interactions within the urinary tract" Georgia Gosnell Distinguished Seminar Series at Rochester Institute of Technology, Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (2019)
  • "Polymicrobial interactions during CAUTI modulate urolithiasis and secondary bacteremia" Clinical and Scientific Advances in Urinary Tract Infections biennial meeting (2019)
  • "Proteus mirabilis CAUTI: Impact of Polymicrobial Interactions" National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIH/NIDDK) CAUTI Technology Workshop (2019)
  • "Polymicrobial interactions modulate severity of catheter-associated urinary tract infection." Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Toxins and Pathogenesis (2018)
  • "The interaction between pathogens in catheter-associated urinary tract infections in nursing homes" • ASM Microbe 2018 (2018)
  • "Tn-Seq analysis of Providencia stuartii catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) reveals newly identified virulence factors" ASM Microbe 2018 (2018)
  • "Defining the role of Proteus mirabilis catalase activity during oxidative stress and biofilm formation" Witebsky Conference on Microbial Pathogenesis (2018)
  • "Tn-Seq analysis of Providencia stuartii catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) reveals newly identified virulence factors" Witebsky Conference on Microbial Pathogenesis (2018)
  • "Consequences of polymicrobial interactions during catheter-associated urinary tract infections" State University of New York at Buffalo, Department of Oral Biology (2018)
  • "Relatedness of MRSA and VRE strains isolated from post-acute care patients and their environment: a longitudinal assessment" IDWeek; Infectious Diseases Society of America (2017)
  • "Comparison of Methods for Estimating in vivo Growth Rate During Urinary Tract Infection" ASM Microbe 2017; American Society for Microbiology (2017)
  • "Genome-Wide Transposon Mutagenesis of Proteus mirabilis: Essential Genes, Fitness Factors for Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection, and the Impact of Polymicrobial Infection On Fitness Requirements" ASM Microbe 2017; American Society for Microbiology (2017)
  • "Transposon Insertion Sequencing to Identify Providencia stuartii Essential Genes and Fitness Factors for Murine Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection" ASM Microbe 2017; American Society for Microbiology (2017)
  • "Burgeoning Short Stay Population: Impact on transmission of Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms (MDROs)" AGS 2017 Annual Meeting; American Geriatrics Society (2017)
  • "Influence of Aging on Urinary Tract Infection Susceptibility and Severity" Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers Annual Meeting; Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers Annual Meeting (2017)
  • "Multidrug-Resistant Organisms (MDRO) in Post-Acute Care: Dynamics From Admission Through Discharge" IDWeek; Infectious Diseases Society of America (2016)
  • "Urease activity is enhanced during co-culture of common CAUTI pathogens and contributes to severity of disease in a murine infection model" IDWeek; Infectious Diseases Society of America (2016)
  • "Urease Activity is Enhanced During Experimental Polymicrobial UTI And Promotes Tissue Damage and Bacteremia" Clinical and Scientific Advances in Urinary Tract Infections (2016)
  • "Delineating the Role of Enhanced Urease Activity in Tissue Damage and Bacteremia During Polymicrobial Urinary Tract Infection" ASM Microbe 2016; American Society for Microbiology (2016)
  • "Measuring Differential Growth Rates of Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Strains in vitro and During Experimental Murine Urinary Tract Infection" ASM Microbe 2016; American Society for Microbiology (2016)
  • "Partners in Crime: Enhanced urease activity during co-culture of bacterial uropathogens" ASM Microbe 2016; American Society for Microbiology (2016)
  • "Transposon Insertion Sequencing to Identify Proteus mirabilis Fitness Factors for Murine Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection" ASM Microbe 2016; American Society for Microbiology (2016)
  • "Double trouble: Proteus mirabilis and Providencia stuartii coinfection increases disease severity" Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology (2016)
  • "Double trouble: implications of polymicrobial urine colonization for infection severity" University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Internal Medicine (2016)
  • "Double trouble: coinfection enhances the severity of catheter-associated urinary tract infections" State University of New York at Buffalo, Department of Microbiology and Immunology (2015)
  • "Klebsiella pneumoniae Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections are Associated with Acute Changes in Mental Status" IDWeek; Infectious Diseases Society of America (2015)
  • "Double Trouble: Coinfection with Proteus mirabilis and Providencia stuartii Enhances the Severity of Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection" Molecular Pathogenesis: Mechanisms of Infectious Disease; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (2015)
  • "Contribution of Bacterial Urease to Enhanced Pathogenicity During Polymicrobial Urinary Tract Infection" ASM General Meeting; American Society for Microbiology (2015)
  • "Synergistic urease activity in vitro and during experimental polymicrobial urinary tract infection" ASM General Meeting; American Society for Microbiology (2015)
  • "Double trouble: coinfection enhances the severity of catheter-associated urinary tract infection" California Polytechnic State University, Department of Biological Sciences (2015)
  • "Investigating Molecular Mechanisms of Enhanced Pathogenicity during Polymicrobial Urinary Tract Infection" 1st ASM Conference on Polymicrobial Infections; American Society for Microbiology (2014)
  • "Polymicrobial Infections" 1st ASM Conference on Polymicrobial Infections; American Society for Microbiology (2014)
  • "Synergistic urease activity during experimental polymicrobial urinary tract infection" 1st ASM Conference on Polymicrobial Infections; American Society for Microbiology (2014)
  • "Synergistic urease activity and increased incidence of bacteremia and urolithiasis resulting from coinfection of the urinary tract" ASM General Meeting; American Society for Microbiology (2014)
  • "Proteus mirabilis swarming occurs in response to factors present in urine and requires excess L-glutamine" Clinical and Scientific Advances in Urinary Tract Infections (2013)
  • "Proteus mirabilis swarming occurs in response to factors present in urine and requires excess L-glutamine" ASM General Meeting; American Society for Microbiology (2013)
  • "Proteus mirabilis swarming motility: influence of amino acids, polyamine synthesis, and metabolism" ASM General Meeting; American Society for Microbiology (2012)
  • "Identification of factors that trigger Proteus mirabilis swarming motility" 18th Annual Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Conference (2011)
  • "The interaction between pathogens in catheter-associated urinary tract infections in nursing homes" American Society for Microbiology annual meeting (Microbe 2018)
See all (34 more)

Service Activities:

  • NIH/NIDDK Urology and Nephrology Small Business Special Emphasis Panel ZRG1 DKUS-B (11) B; Ad-hoc reviewer (2020)
  • Biofilms section, Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology; Review editor (2020–present)
  • ASM Microbe 2021; Session co-chair (2020–2021)
  • Annual Faculty Review Form development; Evaluator (2020–2021)
  • #BlackInMicro week; Volunteer organizer, sponsorship team (2020)
  • Urinary Tract Infection Global Alliance biennial international meeting; Co-organizer (2020–2022)
  • Scientific Reports (Springer Nature) (2020–present)
  • JCI Insight (American Society for Clinical Investigation) (2020–present)
  • NIH/NIDDK Urology and Urogynecology Special Emphasis Panel ZRG1 DKUS-B (90) S; Ad hoc reviewer on a special emphasis panel (2020)
  • Annual Medical Student Research Forum; Poster judge (2020)
  • npj Biofilms and Microbiomes (Springer Nature) (2019–present)
  • Nature Communications (Springer Nature) (2019–present)
  • NIH/NIDDK Diabetic Complications Consortium (DiaComp) Pilot & Feasibility Program; Ad hoc reviewer for pilot grants (2019)
  • PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences (PPBS) Admissions Committee; Primary Representative for the Department of Microbiology & Immunology (2019–present)
  • Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology; Steering committee member (2019–present)
  • Department of Microbiology & Immunology MS Program Curriculum Development; Task force member (2019–2020)
  • Thermo Fisher New Frontiers Distinguished Seminar (Departments of Biological Sciences and Microbiology & Immunology); Co-organizer (2019–present)
  • mSphere (ASM) (2018–present)
  • Cellular and Infection Microbiology (Frontiers) (2018–present)
  • LCME accreditation site visit; Junior faculty representative (2018–2019)
  • mBio (ASM) (2018–present)
  • Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) 12th annual Summer Research Poster Symposium & Luncheon; Poster judge (2018)
  • Journal of Bacteriology (ASM) (2018–present)
  • PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences (PPBS) Admissions Committee; Secondary Representative for the Department of Microbiology & Immunology (2018–2019)
  • 10th UB Postdoc Research Symposium; Poster judge (2018)
  • PLoS One (PLoS) (2018–present)
  • Pathogens and Disease (FEMS) (2018–present)
  • Molecular Bacterial Pathogenesis section, Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology; Review editor (2018–present)
  • Department of Microbiology & Immunology MS Program Curriculum Review; Task force member (2018–2019)
  • Microbiology and Immunology Master's Program Curriculum Task Force Three-member task force (with Tilman Baumstark and John Panepinto) to evaluate the current Master's program curriculum.; Member (2018–present)
  • Journal of Medical Microbiology (Microbiology Society) (2018–present)
  • Peer Review Infection, Disease & Health (Elsevier); Ad Hoc Reviewer (2017–present)
  • Peer Review Medical Microbiology and Immunology (Springer); Ad Hoc Reviewer (2017–present)
  • Infection, Disease & Health (Elsevier) (2017–present)
  • Peer Review Journal of Infection (Elsevier); Ad Hoc Reviewer (2016–present)
  • Peer Review Methods (Elsevier); Ad Hoc Reviewer (2016–present)
  • Methods (Elsevier) (2016–present)
  • Journal of Infection (Elsevier) (2016–present)
  • Medical Microbiology and Immunology (Springer) (2016–present)
  • Peer Review Microbiology (Society for General Microbiology); Ad Hoc Reviewer (2015–present)
  • Planning committee and primary organizer Fall 2015 meeting of the Michigan branch of the American Society for Microbiology; Organizing Committee Member (2015)
  • Peer Review Clinical and Vaccine Immunology (American Society for Microbiology); Ad Hoc Reviewer (2015–present)
  • President University of Michigan Microbiology & Immunology Departmental Postdoctoral Association; President (2015)
  • Clinical and Vaccine Immunology (ASM) (2015–present)
  • Microbiology (Society for General Microbiology) (2015–present)
  • Peer Review Infection and Immunity (ASM); Ad Hoc Reviewer (2014–present)
  • Peer Review Applied Environmental Microbiology (ASM); Ad Hoc Reviewer (2014–present)
  • Peer Review Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ASM); Ad Hoc Reviewer (2014–present)
  • Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ASM) (2014–present)
  • Applied Environmental Microbiology (ASM) (2014–present)
  • Infection and Immunity (ASM) (2014–present)
  • Peer Review Clinical Microbiology Reviews (ASM); Ad Hoc Reviewer (2013–present)
  • Clinical Microbiology Reviews (ASM) (2013–present)
  • Vice President University of Michigan Microbiology & Immunology Departmental Postdoctoral Association; Vice President (2012)

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Contact Information

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Room 5218
955 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: (716) 829-6059
chelsiea@buffalo.edu