Contact Information

Microbiology and Immunology

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
4301 Jones Bridge Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799
Phone: (301) 295-9629
Lab: (301) 295-9627
FAX: (301) 295-3773

Jerse Lab Picture 1

Ann E. Jerse, Ph.D.


Current Lab Members

Afrin Begum
Anita Marinelli
Kristie Connolly, Ph.D.
Michelle Pilligue-Lucas
Jonathan D'Ambrozio
Rosalie Sennett
Amanda DeRocco, Ph.D.
Daniel Simon, Ph.D.
Omari Jones-Nelson, M.S.
Leah Vincent
Abdul Khan, Ph.D.
Hong Wu, M.D.
Esther Lee
Roshan Yedery, Ph.D.

Past Lab Members

Iris E. Valentin-Bon, M.S.
Nirmala Sharma
Sandra Veit
Brian Mocca
Latisha Garvin
Stephen Dalal, D.V.M.
Ishrat Rahman, Ph.D.
Steven Spencer, M.D.
Dawn Meunch, M.D.
Mathanraj Packiam, Ph.D.
Graduate Students
Angel Soler-Garcia, Ph.D.
Amy N. Simms, Ph.D.
David J. Kuch, M.S.
Douglas M. Warner, Ph.D.
Jessica Cole, Ph.D.
Rachel Vonck, Ph.D.

McNeese State Undergraduates Summer Interns

Marie-Eve Pelletier
William Ferguson
Beau Hanks
Jana Jones
Raphael Herd
Ben Ferguson
James Robinson
Michael Authement
Joseph Tod Guidry
Brandon Haynes

Research Overview

Gonorrhea is the second in incidence among the reportable diseases in the United States and a significant source of morbidity and mortality in women due to the serious nature of ascended infection and its resultant complications. Gonorrhea also impacts neonatal health and is a co-factor in the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus. The rapid spread of antibiotic resistance seriously threatens current control measures and new treatments and a gonorrhea vaccine are needed.

As a pathogen, Gc is fascinating due to its many sophisticated adaptation mechanisms. The primary research interests of the Jerse laboratory are i.) animal modeling of Gc genital tract infections ii.) understanding the mechanisms utilized by Gc to evade host innate defenses in the female genital tract; iii.) studying the in vivo fitness costs and benefits of antibiotic resistance mutations. A second focus is the development of gonorrhea vaccines against surface factors known to play a role in infection and the pre-clinical testing of vaginal microbicides and antibiotics against gonorrhea. We also developed of a female mouse model of Gc and chlamydial coinfection for pathogenesis studies and to facilitate the development of dual therapies against these two common STI pathogens.

Animal Modeling

Female Mouse Model of Gc Genital Tract Infection

Jerse Lab- woman working in lab, smiling at camera
  • Jerse, A. E. (1999). "Experimental gonococcal genital tract infection and opacity protein expression in estradiol-treated mice." Infect Immun 67(11): 5699-708.
  • Dalal, S. J., J. S. Estep, I. E. Valentin-Bon and A. E. Jerse (2001). "Standardization of the Whitten Effect to induce susceptibility to Neisseria gonorrhoeae in female mice." Contemp Top Lab Anim Sci 40(2): 13-7.
  • Packiam, M., S. J. Veit, D. J. Anderson, R. R. Ingalls and A. E. Jerse (2010). "Mouse strain-dependent differences in susceptibility to Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection and induction of innate immune responses." Infect Immun 78(1): 433-40.
  • Jerse A.E., H. Wu, M. Packiam, R.A. Vonck, A.A. Begum , and L.E. Garvin. 2011. Estradiol-treated female mice as surrogate hosts for Neisseria gonorrhoeae genital tract infections. Front. Microbiol. 2:107.
Jerse Lab members, smiling at camera

Gc/Chlamydia Co-infection Model

  • Vonck, R. A., T. Darville, C. M. O'Connell and A. E. Jerse (2011). "Chlamydial infection increases gonococcal colonization in a novel murine coinfection model." Infect Immun 79(4): 1566-77.



Gc/Lactobacillus Co-colonization Model

  • St Amant, D. C., I. E. Valentin-Bon and A. E. Jerse (2002). "Inhibition of Neisseria gonorrhoeae by Lactobacillus species that are commonly isolated from the female genital tract." Infect Immun 70(12): 7169-71.
  • Muench, D. F., D. J. Kuch, H. Wu, A. A. Begum, S. J. Veit, M. E. Pelletier, A. A. Soler-Garcia and A. E. Jerse (2009). "Hydrogen peroxide-producing lactobacilli inhibit gonococci in vitro but not during experimental genital tract infection." J Infect Dis 199(9): 1369-78.

Host Responses to Infection

Jerse Lab, man smiling at camera
  • Song, W., S. Condron, B. T. Mocca, S. J. Veit, D. Hill, A. Abbas and A. E. Jerse (2008). "Local and humoral immune responses against primary and repeat Neisseria gonorrhoeae genital tract infections of 17beta-estradiol-treated mice." Vaccine 26(45): 5741-51.
  • Packiam M., Veit S.J., Wu H., Mavrogiorgos N., A.E. Jerse, and R.R. Ingalls. 2012. Protective and immunoregulatory role of toll-like receptor 4 in experimental gonococcal infection of female mice. Mucosal Immun. 5:19-29.

Adaptation to the Female Genital Tract

Evasion of Innate Defenses

Jerse Lab, woman smiling at camera
  • Jerse, A. E., N. D. Sharma, A. N. Simms, E. T. Crow, L. A. Snyder and W. M. Shafer (2003). "A gonococcal efflux pump system enhances bacterial survival in a female mouse model of genital tract infection." Infect Immun 71(10): 5576-82.
  • Wu, H. and A. E. Jerse (2006). "?-2,3-sialyltransferase enhances Neisseria gonorrhoeae survival during experimental murine genital tract infection." Infect Immun 74(7): 4094-103.
  • Soler-Garcia, A. A. and A. E. Jerse (2007). "Neisseria gonorrhoeae catalase is not required for experimental genital tract infection despite the induction of a localized neutrophil response." Infect Immun 75(5): 2225-33.
  • Wu, H., A. A. Soler-Garcia and A. E. Jerse (2009). "A strain-specific catalase mutation and mutation of the metal-binding transporter gene mntC attenuate Neisseria gonorrhoeae in vivo but not by increasing susceptibility to oxidative killing by phagocytes." Infect Immun 77(3): 1091-102.

Iron Utilization / Lactobacilli

Jerse Lab, group photo
  • Jerse, A. E., E. T. Crow, A. N. Bordner, I. Rahman, C. N. Cornelissen, T. R. Moench and K. Mehrazar (2002). "Growth of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in the female mouse genital tract does not require the gonococcal transferrin or hemoglobin receptors and may be enhanced by commensal lactobacilli." Infect Immun 70(5): 2549-58.
  • St Amant, D. C., I. E. Valentin-Bon and A. E. Jerse (2002). "Inhibition of Neisseria gonorrhoeae by Lactobacillus species that are commonly isolated from the female genital tract." Infect Immun 70(12): 7169-71.
  • Exley, R. M., H. Wu, J. Shaw, M. C. Schneider, H. Smith, A. E. Jerse and C. M. Tang (2007). "Lactate acquisition promotes successful colonization of the murine genital tract by Neisseria gonorrhoeae." Infect Immun 75(3): 1318-24.
  • Muench, D. F., D. J. Kuch, H. Wu, A. A. Begum, S. J. Veit, M. E. Pelletier, A. A. Soler-Garcia and A. E. Jerse (2009). "Hydrogen peroxide-producing lactobacilli inhibit gonococci in vitro but not during experimental genital tract infection." J Infect Dis 199(9): 1369-78.

Opacity Protein Selection in vivo

Jerse Lab, women smiling at camera
  • Simms, A. N. and A. E. Jerse (2006). "In vivo selection for Neisseria gonorrhoeae opacity protein expression in the absence of human carcinoembryonic antigen cell adhesion molecules." Infect Immun 74(5): 2965-74.
  • Cole, J. G., N. B. Fulcher and A. E. Jerse (2010). "Opacity proteins increase Neisseria gonorrhoeae fitness in the female genital tract due to a factor under ovarian control." Infect Immun 78(4): 1629-41.
  • Hobbs M.M., P.F. Sparling, M.S. Cohen, W.M. Shafer, C.D. Deal, and A.E. Jerse. 2011. Experimental gonococcal infection in male volunteers: cumulative experience with Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains FA1090 and MS11mkC. Front. Microbiol. 2:123.

Antibiotic Resistance and Fitness

Jerse Lab, women smiling at camera
  • Warner, D. M., J. P. Folster, W. M. Shafer and A. E. Jerse (2007). "Regulation of the MtrC-MtrD-MtrE efflux-pump system modulates the in vivo fitness of Neisseria gonorrhoeae." J Infect Dis 196(12): 1804-12.
  • Warner, D. M., W. M. Shafer and A. E. Jerse (2008). "Clinically relevant mutations that cause derepression of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae MtrC-MtrD-MtrE Efflux pump system confer different levels of antimicrobial resistance and in vivo fitness." Mol Microbiol 70(2): 462-78.
  • Kunz A.N., A.A. Begum, H. Wu, J.A. D'Ambrozio, J.M. Robinson, W.M. Shafer, M.C. Bash, and A.E. Jerse. 2012. Impact of Fluoroquinolone resistance mutations on gonococcal fitness and in vivo selection for compensatory mutations. J. Infect. Dis. 205:1821-1829.


Product Development

Jerse Lab, women smiling at camera


  • Plante, M., Jerse A.E., Hamel J., Coutre F., Rioux C.R., Brodeur B.R., and D. Martin. 2000. Intranasal immunization with gonococcal outer membrane preparations reduces the duration of vaginal colonization of mice by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. J. Infect. Dis. 182:848-855.
Jerse Lab, woman smiling at camera
  • Cole, J. G. and A. E. Jerse (2009). "Functional characterization of antibodies against Neisseria gonorrhoeae opacity protein loops." PLoS One 4(12): e8108.
  • Garvin, L. E., M. C. Bash, C. Keys, D. M. Warner, S. Ram, W. M. Shafer and A. E. Jerse (2008). "Phenotypic and genotypic analyses of Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates that express frequently recovered PorB PIA variable region types suggest that certain P1a porin sequences confer a selective advantage for urogenital tract infection." Infect Immun 76(8): 3700-9.
  • Zhu W., C.J. Chen, C.E. Thomas, J.E. Anderson, A.E. Jerse, and P.F. Sparling. 2011. Vaccines for gonorrhea: can we rise to the challenge? Front. Microbiol. 2:124.

Vaginal microbicides

Jerse Lab, group smiling at camera
  • Spencer, S. E., I. E. Valentin-Bon, K. Whaley and A. E. Jerse (2004). "Inhibition of Neisseria gonorrhoeae genital tract infection by leading-candidate topical microbicides in a mouse model." J Infect Dis 189(3): 410-9.
  • Zeitlin L., Hoen T.E., Achilles S.L., Hegarty T.A., Jerse A.E., Kreider J.W., Olmsted S.S., Whaley K.J., Cone R.A., and T.R. Moench. 2001. "Tests of BufferGel for contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases in animal models." Sex. Transm. Dis. 28:417-423.