Heather Mead

Heather Mead Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor
Pathogen and Microbiome Division

Heather Mead Ph.D.

Dr. Mead is a Research Assistant Professor with the Immunology Core, part of TGen’s Pathogen and Microbiome Division. Her primary expertise is in the impacts of host-pathogen interactions on pathogenesis and virulence; and a significant portion of her work to date has been devoted to the development of in vitro and in vivo models used to study human respiratory pathogens like Coccidioides (causative of Valley fever) and SARS-CoV-2 (causative of COVID-19).

Her long-term goal is to apply her knowledge of pathogenic host evasion and human immunity in innovative ways to develop improved surveillance techniques, diagnostics, and treatments for infectious diseases.

Heather is a graduate of Northern Arizona University, from whence she received her B.S. in Microbiology and later earned her Ph.D. in Biology while studying Coccidioides genetics. Currently, her funded projects involve leveraging highly-multiplexed genomic assays to characterize T and B cell responses to human-infecting viruses, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Coccidioides, and Plasmodium species.

Recurrent SARS-CoV-2 mutations at Spike D796 evade antibodies from pre-Omicron convalescent and vaccinated subjects. Elko EA, Mead HL, Nelson GA, Zaia JA, Ladner JT, Altin JA. Microbiol Spectr. 2024 Feb 6;12(2):e0329123. Epub 2024 Jan 8.

Virome-wide detection of natural infection events and the associated antibody dynamics using longitudinal highly-multiplexed serology. Kelley EJ, Henson SN, Rahee F, Boyle AS, Engelbrektson AL, Nelson GA, Mead HL, Anderson NL, Razavi M, Yip R, Ladner JT, Scriba TJ, Altin JA. Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 30;14(1):1783. 

Volatile Metabolites in Lavage Fluid Are Correlated with Cytokine Production in a Valley Fever Murine Model. Higgins Keppler EA, Van Dyke MCC, Mead HL, Lake DF, Magee DM, Barker BM, Bean HD. J Fungi (Basel). 2023 Jan 14;9(1):115.

PepSeq: a fully in vitro platform for highly multiplexed serology using customizable DNA-barcoded peptide libraries. Henson SN, Elko EA, Swiderski PM, Liang Y, Engelbrektson AL, Piña A, Boyle AS, Fink Z, Facista SJ, Martinez V, Rahee F, Brown A, Kelley EJ, Nelson GA, Raspet I, Mead HL, Altin JA, Ladner JT. Nat Protoc. 2023 Feb;18(2):396-423. Epub 2022 Nov 16.

Coccidioidomycosis in Northern Arizona: an Investigation of the Host, Pathogen, and Environment Using a Disease Triangle Approach. Mead HL, Kollath DR, Teixeira MM, Roe CC, Plude C, Nandurkar N, Donohoo C, O'Connor BLW, Terriquez J, Keim P, Barker BM. mSphere. 2022 Oct 26;7(5):e0035222. Epub 2022 Aug 16. 

COVID-19 vaccination elicits an evolving, cross-reactive antibody response to epitopes conserved with endemic coronavirus spike proteins. Elko EA, Nelson GA, Mead HL, Kelley EJ, Carvalho ST, Sarbo NG, Harms CE, Le Verche V, Cardoso AA, Ely JL, Boyle AS, Piña A, Henson SN, Rahee F, Keim PS, Celona KR, Yi J, Settles EW, Bota DA, Yu GC, Morris SR, Zaia JA, Ladner JT, Altin JA. Cell Rep. 2022 Jul 5;40(1):111022 Epub 2022 Jun 13. 

A chromosomal-level reference genome of the widely utilized Coccidioides posadasii laboratory strain "Silveira". de Melo Teixeira M, Stajich JE, Sahl JW, Thompson GR, Brem RB, Dubin CA, Blackmon AV, Mead HL, Keim P, Barker BM. G3 (Bethesda). 2022 Apr 4;12(4):jkac031. 

Differential Thermotolerance Adaptation between Species of Coccidioides. Mead HL, Hamm PS, Shaffer IN, Teixeira MM, Wendel CS, Wiederhold NP, Thompson GR 3rd, Muñiz-Salazar R, Castañón-Olivares LR, Keim P, Plude C, Terriquez J, Galgiani JN, Orbach MJ, Barker BM. J Fungi (Basel). 2020 Dec 14;6(4):366. 

Defining Critical Genes During Spherule Remodeling and Endospore Development in the Fungal Pathogen, Coccidioides posadasii. Mead HL, Roe CC, Higgins Keppler EA, Van Dyke MCC, Laux KL, Funke AL, Miller KJ, Bean HD, Sahl JW, Barker BM. Front Genet. 2020 May 15;11:483. eCollection 2020. 

Factor Xa cleaves SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to block viral entry and infection. Wenjuan Dong, Jing Wang, Lei Tian, Jianying Zhang, Erik W. Settles, Chao Qin, Daniel R. Steinken-Kollath, Ashley N. Itogawa, Kimberly R. Celona, Jinhee Yi, Mitchell Bryant, Heather Mead, Sierra A. Jaramillo, Hongjia Lu, Aimin Li, Ross E. Zumwalt, Sanjeet Dadwal, Pinghui Feng, Weiming Yuan, Sean P. J. Whelan, Paul S. Keim, Bridget Marie Barker, Michael A. Caligiuri & Jianhua Yu. Nat Commun 14, 1936 (2023).

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