Dr. Juan Jose Calix obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree from Loyola University New Orleans in 2005. After working a year in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, he earned his MD and PhD in Microbiology from the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) between 2006-2014. He performed his doctoral thesis work in the laboratory of Moon Nahm, MD with the support of a NIAID F31 Fellowship. He subsequently joined the Physician Scientist Training Program at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) to perform his Internal Medicine residency and Infectious Diseases fellowship. During this training he worked in the laboratories of Mario Feldman, PhD (2017-2019) and then Gautam Dantas, PhD (2019-2021). In March 2020 he became an Instructor of Medicine at WUSTL. In August 2021, he returned to UAB to open his own laboratory as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Division of Pulmonology/Allergy/Critical Care, where he is continues to conduct his NIAID K08-funded research studying the propagation of bacterial pathogens among at-risk hosts.
"To cause an infection somewhere, the microbe must first be able to get there. The incidental journey microbes take on their way to causing infections is imprinted in, and thus can be unraveled from, the genomes of clinical isolates."
The Calix lab (Est. 2021) focuses on the microbial and environmental determinants that facilitate the propagation (transmission, niche colonization, population persistence, etc.) of pathogenic bacteria among individuals at risk of eventual opportunistic infections. Our goal is to identify key pathobiological "choke points" that can be targeted by preventative efforts against modern-day bacterial pathogens, with current focus on Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter and non-vaccine serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Our translational research strategy begins with elucidating the molecular epidemiology of infections through next-generation sequencing of clinical isolates supplemented by clinical metadata. This aids in identifying microbial factors of interest and the building of clinically-relevant hypotheses. We subsequently investigate these factors using clinical isolates, and combining benchtop immunological/ biochemical/ molecular microbiology techniques and non-animal models. We have special interests in bacterial surfaces and microbial glycobiology.