Awdhesh (Dash) Kalia, Ph.D.
School of Health Professions, Division of Education & Training
Present Title & Affiliation
Professor, School of Health Professions, Division of Academic Affairs, Sr VP Office, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Associate Graduate Program Director, Diagnostic Genetics and Genomics, School of Health Professions, Division of Academic Affairs, Sr VP Office, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Decades of epidemiological and evolutionary studies show that despite predominantly clonal reproduction many pathogenic bacterial species accumulate extensive genetic diversity over time, and that ecologically and genetically related bacteria often differ in their virulence potential. These aspects are perhaps best illustrated by the two organisms that we investigate in my lab: Helicobacter pylori and Streptococcus pyogenes. Both these bacterial species are considered obligate human-specific pathogens that are responsible for a wide-variety of clinical disorders. For example, H. pylori can cause gastric cancer, peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers, atrophic gastritis, and S. pyogenes can cause a spectrum of diseases that range from mild (strep throat) to severe invasive diseases (eg. TSLS) and can also trigger autoimmune syndromes such rheumatic fever. Paradoxically, both H. pylori and S. pyogenes can also establish long-term colonization in their human host without causing any significant disease. Disconcertingly, there are no reliable markers that can predict the likelihood of a particular clinical outcome following infection by either H. pylori or S. pyogenes. My lab studies two fundamental questions:
1) What are the molecular and evolutionary forces that shape and maintain genetic diversity in H. pylori and among pyogenic streptococci ?
2) How does genetic diversity in H. pylori and S. pyogenes shape the outcome of host-pathogen interaction?
The main themes of my lab include microbial molecular evolution, microbial cell biology and microbial genomics. Using this integrated approach we hope to better understand the pathogenic mechanisms that shape the evolution of host-pathogen interactions, and translate our findings to develop reliable predictive and therapeutic interventions for H. pylori and Streptococcal infections.
Education & Training
|2000||All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, IND, PHD, Microbiology|
|1993||University of Delhi, Delhi, IND, MS, Cell Biology|
|1991||University of Delhi, Delhi, IND, BS, Zoology|
|2002-2004||Research Fellowship, Evolutionary Genomics, Molecular Evolution, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO|
|2000-2000||Research Training, Molecular Evolution, Marine Biological Laboratories, Woodshole, MA|
|1999-2002||Research Fellowship, Population Genetics, Evolutionary Epidemiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT|
|2015||American Society for Clinical Pathology-Board of Certification - Molecular Biology|
Experience & Service
Associate Professor, Department of School of Health Professions, Division of Academic Affairs, Sr VP Office, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2017 - 2021
Assistant Professor, Department of School of Health Professions, Division of Academic Affairs, Sr VP Office, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2011 - 2017
Associate Professor (With Tenure), University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, 2010 - 2011
Assistant Professor, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, 2004 - 2010
Education Coordinator-Undergraduate Program in Molecular Genetic Technology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2011 - 2014
Honors & Awards
|2021||MD Anderson Distinguished Educator, MD Anderson Acadmey of Health Science Educuation|
|2020||University of Texas System Regents Outstanding Teacher Award, University of Texas System|
|2017||Faculty Inductee, The Alpha Eta Society, The National Scholastic Honor Society for Allied Health Professions|
|2016||Faculty Educator of the Month, The University of Cancer MD Anderson Cancer Center|
|2015||Fellow, Association of Clinical Scientists|
|2010||Red and Black Mentor Award, University of Louisville|
|2008||Favorite Faculty Award, University of Louisville|
|2006||Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, Oak-Ridge Association of Universities|
|2006||Favorite Faculty Award, University of Louisville|
|2000||James Hudson Brown-Alexander Brown-Coxe Postdoctoral Fellowship, Yale University|
|2000||Emerging Infectious Disease Fellowship, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta [declined]|
|1998||Special Student Honor Oration Award, American Society for Microbiology|
|1997||Young Investigator Award, International Society for Chemotherapy|
|1993||JRF/NET National Fellowship, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India|
|1993||National Research Fellowship, University Grants Commission, Government of India [declined]|
- Aryal NK, Pant V, Wasylishen AR, Parker-Thornburg J, Baseler L, El-Naggar AK, Liu B, Kalia A, Lozano G, Arur S. Constitutive Dicer1 phosphorylation accelerates metabolism and aging in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116(3):960-969, 2019. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 30593561.
- Li X, Arias CA, Aitken SL, Galloway Peña J, Panesso D, Chang M, Diaz L, Rios R, Numan Y, Ghaoui S, DebRoy S, Bhatti MM, Simmons DE, Raad I, Hachem R, Folan SA, Sahasarabhojane P, Kalia A*, Shelburne SA*.. Clonal Emergence of Invasive Multidrug-Resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis Deconvoluted via a Combination of Whole-Genome Sequencing and Microbiome Analyses. Clin Infect Dis 67(3):398-406, 2018. e-Pub 2018. PMID: 29546356, *, Equal Contribution.
- Perpich JD, Kalia A*, Price CTD, Jones SC, Wong K, Gehring K, Kwaik YA*.. Divergent evolution of Di-lysine ER retention vs. farnesylation motif-mediated anchoring of the AnkB virulence effector to the Legionella-containing vacuolar membrane. Sci Rep 7(1):5123, 2017. e-Pub 2017. PMID: 28698607 *, Co-corresponding Authors.
- Petrosyan V, Holder M, Ajami NJ, Petrosino JF, Sahasrabhojane P, Thompson EJ, Kalia A, Shelburne SA. Complete Genome Sequence of Streptococcus mitis Strain SVGS_061 Isolated from a Neutropenic Patient with Viridans Group Streptococcal Shock Syndrome. Genome Announc 4(2), 2016. e-Pub 2016. PMID: 27056234.
- Evers C, Patel K, Petrosyan V, Morrison C, Varghese V, Chu RA, Baig A, Thompson EJ, Chase M, Hu PC, Kalia A. Draft Genome Sequences of Four Genetically Distinct Human Isolates of Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis. Genome Announc 3(5), 2015. e-Pub 2015. PMID: 26430051.
- Putty K, Marcus SA, Mittl PR, Bogadi LE, Hunter AM, Arur S, Berg DE, Sethu P, Kalia A. Robustness of Helicobacter pylori Infection Conferred by Context-Variable Redundancy among Cysteine-Rich Paralogs. PLoS One 8(3):e59560, 2013. e-Pub 2013. PMID: 23555707.
- Kersulyte D, Kalia A, Gilman RH, Mendez M, Herrera P, Cabrera L, Velapatiño B, Balqui J, Paredes Puente de la Vega F, Rodriguez Ulloa CA, Cok J, Hooper CC, Dailide G, Tamma S, Berg DE. Helicobacter pylori from Peruvian amerindians: traces of human migrations in strains from remote Amazon, and genome sequence of an Amerind strain. PLoS One 5(11):e15076, 2010. e-Pub 2010. PMID: 21124785.
- Al-Khodor S, Price CT, Kalia A*, Abu Kwaik Y*. Functional diversity of ankyrin repeats in microbial proteins. Trends Microbiol 18(3):132-9,, 2010. e-Pub 2009. PMID: 19962898.
- Ogura M, Perez JC, Mittl PR, Lee HK, Dailide G, Tan S, Ito Y, Secka O, Dailidiene D, Putty K, Berg DE, Kalia A. Helicobacter pylori evolution: lineage- specific adaptations in homologs of eukaryotic Sel1-like genes. PLoS Comput Biol 3(8):e151, 2007. e-Pub 2007. PMID: 17696605.
- Albert TJ, Dailidiene D, Dailide G, Norton JE, Kalia A, Richmond TA, Molla M, Singh J, Green RD, Berg DE. Mutation discovery in bacterial genomes: metronidazole resistance in Helicobacter pylori. Nat Methods 2(12):951-3, 2005. e-Pub 2005. PMID: 16299480.
- Aspholm-Hurtig M, Dailide G, Lahmann M, Kalia A, Ilver D, Roche N, Vikström S, Sjöström R, Lindén S, Bäckström A, Lundberg C, Arnqvist A, Mahdavi J, Nilsson UJ, Velapatiño B, Gilman RH, Gerhard M, Alarcon T, López-Brea M, Nakazawa T, Fox JG, Correa P, Dominguez-Bello MG, Perez-Perez GI, Blaser MJ, Normark S, Carlstedt I, Oscarson S, Teneberg S, Berg DE, Borén T. Functional adaptation of BabA, the H. pylori ABO blood group antigen binding adhesin. Science 305(5683):519-22, 2004. PMID: 15273394.
- Kalia A, Bessen DE. Natural selection and evolution of streptococcal virulence genes involved in tissue-specific adaptations. J Bacteriol 186(1):110-21, 2004. PMID: 14679231.
- Bessen DE, Kalia A. Genomic localization of a T serotype locus to a recombinatorial zone encoding extracellular matrix-binding proteins in Streptococcus pyogenes. Infect Immun 70(3):1159-67, 2002. PMID: 11854196.
Grant & Contract Support
|Title:||Evolution of virulence in commensal and pathogenic streptococci|
|Funding Source:||Oak Ridge Association of Universities|
|Title:||Origin and evolution of the FCT-genomic island required for streptococcal pathogenesis|
|Funding Source:||American Society for Microbiology|
|Title:||Project-based core curriculum development initiative (PICCDIn) for training the next generation molecular technologist|
|Funding Source:||UT Academy of Health Sciences|
|Title:||Integration of digital-droplet (ddPCR) PCR based diagnostic assays in the Diagnostic Genetics (DG) molecular genetics and genomics core-curriculum|
|Funding Source:||MD Anderson Cancer Fund|
Molecular Genomics students acquire skills in genome data acquisition and computational biology–for the progress of personalized genomic medicine
Graduates of Diagnostic Genetics c/o ’17; My big award every year-graduates employed straight out of college or move on to higher academic pursuits
CPRIT-CURE Undergrad Summer Research Symposium 2021
MS-DGG group meetings move to Zoom, Fall 2020 – COVID-19 era