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Paul DeFigueiredo

Paul DeFigueiredo

NextGen Precision Health Endowed Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Molecular Microbiology & Immunology,Veterinary Pathobiology,


Research Emphasis

His lab actively pursues research into host mechanisms that control intracellular parasitism by viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens, including Brucella melitensis, the causative agent of one of the world’s most prevalent zoonotic diseases, and Cryptococcus neoformans, the world’s deadliest fungal pathogen. He also has significant interest in using microbes to combat cancer and autoimmune disease in humans. Dr. de Figueiredo has led collaborative projects with engineers. This work has pioneered the development of high-throughput microsystem tools and technologies that illuminate novel biological processes, including mechanisms governing microbial physiology and host-pathogen interactions.

Research Interests

  • Host mechanisms
  • Brucella melitensis
  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • Microbes


BA 1986 Mathematics and Political Science – Rice University
MA 1989 Religious Studies – Stanford University
PhD 1997 Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology – Cornell University

Selected Publications

Zhu B, Ouda R, de Figueiredo P, Kobayashi KS. ORF6, a repressor of the MHC class I pathway: new molecular target for SARS-CoV-2 drug discover? Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2023 Jul-Dec;27(8):639-644. Doi: 10.1080/1478222.2023.2248377. Epub 2023 Aug 30. PMD: 37602463.

Wang L, Peng HY, Kishore Das J, Kumar A, Ren Y, Ballard DJ, Xiong X, Yang W, Ren X, de Figueiredo P, Yang JM, Song J. NAC1 confines virus-specific memory formation of CD4+ T cells through the ROCK1-mediated pathway. J Med Virol. 2023 Jul;95(7):e28957. doi: 10.1002/jmv.28957. PMID: 37465969; PMCID: PMC10391642.

Plocica J, Guo F, Das JK, Kobayashi KS, Ficht TA, Alaniz RC, Song J, de Figueiredo P. Engineering live attenuated vaccines: Old dogs learning new tricks. J Transl Autoimmun. 2023 Mar 27;6:100198. doi: 10.1016/j.jtauto.2023.100198. PMID: 37090898; PMCID: PMC10113845.

Rebecca M. Legere, Angelica R. Allegro, Yvonne Affram, Bibiana Petri da Silveira, Jennifer L. Fridley, Kelsey M. Wells, Numan Oezguen, Robert C. Burghardt, Gus A. Wright, Jeroen Pollet, Angela I. Bordin, Paul de Figueiredo, Julian L. Leibowitz, Noah D. Cohen. Infection of equine bronchial epithelial cells with a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus. bioRxiv 2023.01.26.525770; doi:

Eslami M, Chen YP, Nicholson AC, Weston M, Bell M, McQuiston JR, Samuel J, van Schaik EJ, de Figueiredo P. Neural network-based integration of assays to assess pathogenic potential. Scientific Reports 13, 6021, 2023

Skariah S, Abdul-Majid S, Hay AG, Acharya A, Kano N, Al-Ishaq RK, de Figueiredo P, Han A, Guzman A, Dargham SR, Sameer S, Kim GE, Khan S, Pillai P, Sultan AA. Soil Properties Correlate with Microbial Community Structure in Qatari Arid Soils. Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Feb 27:e0346222. doi: 10.1128/spectrum. PMID: 36847511

Huang C, Guo F, Wang H, Olivares J, Dalton J, Belyanina O, Wattam A, Cucinell C, Dickerman A, Qin, QM, Han A, de Figueiredo P.
An automated system for interrogating the evolution of microbial endosymbiosis. Lab Chip. 2023 Feb 14;23(4):671-683. doi: 10.1039/d2lc00602b. PMID: 36227118

Das JK, Guo F, Plocica J, Hunt C, Steinmeyer S, Kobayashi K, Jayaraman A, Ficht T, Alaniz R, de Figueiredo P*, Song J* A live metabolically engineered bacterium controls autoimmunity and inflammation by remodeling the pro- inflammatory microenvironment and augmenting regulatory T cell function. Gut Microbes, 2022 Jan-Dec;14(1):2143222. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2022.2143222. PMID: 36404471

Yang JM, Ren Y, Kumar A, Xiong X, Das JK, Peng HY, Wang L, Ren X, Zhang Y, Ji C, Cheng Y, Zhang L, Alaniz RC, de Figueiredo P, Fang D, Zhou H, Liu X, Wang J, Song J. NAC1 modulates autoimmunity by suppressing regulatory T cell-mediated tolerance. Sci Adv. 2022 Jul;8(26):eabo0183. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abo0183. Epub 2022 Jun 29. PMID: 35767626

Dai, Jing; Huang, Can; Zhang, Han; Samuel, Ryan, Li, Yuwen, Jayaraman, Arul, de Figueiredo, Paul, Han, Arum. A microfluidic dielectrophoretic method enables on-demand spatial arrangement of bacteria-encapsulated agarose gel microparticles. Analytical Chemistry, 2022 Sep 27;94(38):13197-13204. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.2c02724. PMID: 36108268

Willis JA, Cheburkanov V, Chen S, Soares JM, Kassab G, Blanco KC, Bagnato VS, de Figueiredo P, Yakovlev VV Breaking down antibiotic resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: combining antimicrobial photodynamic and antibiotic treatments. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA. 2022 Sep 6;119(36):e2208378119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2208378119. Epub 2022 Aug 29.

Das JK, Kumar A, Ren Y, Peng H-Y, Xiong X, Alaniz RC, de Figueiredo P, Ren X, Liu X, Ryazonov AG, Yang J-M, Song S. Elongation Factor-2 Kinase is a Critical Determinant of the Fate and Antitumor Immunity of CD8+ T Cells. Science Advances. 2022 Feb 4;8(5):eabl9783. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abl9783. Epub 2022 Feb 2

Zhang, H, Huang C, Li Y, Gupte R, Samuel R, Dai J, Guzman A, Sabnis R, de Figueiredo P, Han A.
FIDELITY: A Quality Control System for Droplet Microfluidics. Science Advances. 2022 Jul 8;8(27):eabc9108. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abc9108. Epub 2022 Jul 8

Yang J, Eslami M, Chen YP, Das M, Zhang D, Chen S, Roberts AJ, Weston M, Volkova A, Faghihi K, Moore RK, Alaniz RC, Wattam AR, Dickerman A, Cucinell C, Kendziorski J, Coburn S, Paterson H, Obanor O, Maples J, Servetas S, Dootz J, Qin QM, Samuel JE, Han A, van Schaik EJ, de Figueiredo P. Phenotype-Based Threat Assessment. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2022. PMID: 35363569

Wells KM, He K, Pandey A, Cabello A, Zhang D, Yang J, Gomez G, Liu Y, Chang H, Li X, Zhang H, Feng X, da Costa LF, Metz R, Johnson CD, Martin CL, Skrobarczyk J, Berghman LR, Patrick KL, Leibowitz J, Ficht A, Sze SH, Song J, Qian X, Qin QM, Ficht TA, de Figueiredo P. Brucella activates the host RIDD pathway to subvert BLOS1-directed immune defense. eLIFE. 2022. PMID: 35587649

Guo F, Das JK, Kobayashi KS, Qin QM, A Ficht T, Alaniz RC, Song J, Figueiredo P. Live attenuated bacterium limits cancer resistance to CAR-T therapy by remodeling the tumor microenvironment. J Immunother Cancer. 2022. PMID: 34987022

Yoo J-S, Sasaki M, Cho SX, Kasuga Y, Baohui Z, Ouda R, de Figueiredo P, Sawa H, Kobayashi, KS. SARS-CoV-2 inhibits the MHC class I pathway by targeting the STAT1-IRF1-NLRC5 axis. Nature Communications. 2021. PMID: 34782627

Chen S, Zhang D, Roberts AJ, Lu HC, Cannon CL, Qin QM, de Figueiredo P. Host Protease Activity on Bacterial Pathogens Promotes Complement and Antibiotic-Directed Killing. Pathogens. 2021 Nov 18;10(11):1506. doi: 10.3390/pathogens10111506. PMID: 34832660

Yang J, Qin QM, Van Schaik E, Samuel JE, de Figueiredo P. Automated, High-Throughput Detection of Bacterial Adherence to Host Cells. J Vis Exp. 2021 Sep 17;(175). doi: 10.3791/62764. PMID: 34605819

Jeevarathinam AS, Guo F, Williams T, Smolen JA, Hyde JA, McShane MJ, de Figueiredo P, Alge DL. Enzyme functionalized microgels enable precise regulation of dissolved oxygen and anaerobe culture. Mater Today Bio. 2021 PMID: 33554105

Jiang Y, Zhang H, Wippold JA, Gupta J, Dai J, de Figueiredo P, Leibowitz JL, Han A Sub-second heat inactivation of coronavirus using a betacoronavirus model Biotechnol Bioeng. 2021. PMID: 33615450

Ouyang Y, Chen D, Fu Y, Shi W, Provin T, Han A, van Shaik E, Samuel JE, de Figueiredo P, Zhou J. Direct cell extraction from fresh and stored soil samples: impact on microbial viability and community compositions. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2021. (155) 108178

Dadaneh SZ, de Figueiredo, P, Sze S-H, Zhou, M, and X. Qian. Bayesian Gamma-Negative Binomial Modeling of Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Data. BMC Genomics. 2020. PMID: 32900358

Elworth RAL, Diaz C, Yang J, de Figueiredo P, Ternus K, Treangen T. Synthetic DNA and biosecurity: Nuances of predicting pathogenicity and the impetus for novel computational approaches for screening oligonucleotides. PLoS Pathog. 2020 Aug 6;16(8):e1008649. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008649. PMID: 32760120

Qin QM, Pei J, Gomez G, Rice-Ficht A, Ficht TA and de Figueiredo P. A tractable Drosophila cell system enables rapid identification of Acinetobacter baumannii host factors. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020. PMID: 32528902

Ding S, Pandey A, Feng X, Yang J, Fachini da Costa L, Mouneimne RB, Rice-Ficht A, Bell SL, Watson RO, Patrick KL, Qin Q-M, Ficht TA and de Figueiredo P. Interactions between fungal hyaluronic acid and host CD44 promotes internalization by recruiting host autophagy proteins to forming phagosomes. iScience 2020. PMID: 33718841

Costa LF, Cabello AL, Batista DFA, Chaki SP, de Figueiredo P, da Paixão TA, Rice-Ficht AC, Ficht TA, Santos RL. The candidate vaccine strain Brucella ovis ∆abcBA is protective against Brucella melitensis infection in mice. Microbiol Immunol. 2020. PMID: 32965738

Wippold JA, Wang H, Tingling J, Leibowitz JL, de Figueiredo P*, Han A*. PRESCIENT: platform for the rapid evaluation of antibody success using integrated microfluidics enabled technology. Lab Chip 2020. PMID: 32196032

Haque M, Lei F, Xiong X, Ren Y, Kumar A, Das JK, Ren X, Fang D, de Figueiredo P, Yang JM, Song J. Stem Cell-Derived Viral Antigen-Specific T Cells Suppress HBV Replication through Production of IFN-γ and TNF-⍺. iScience. 2020 Jul 24;23(7):101333.