Professor of Epidemiology
A molecular parasitologist and virologist, Dr. Elodie Ghedin uses genomics tools to explore host-pathogen interactions in filarial worms (which cause River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis) and in viral infections. Her laboratory also explores influenza virus diversity in the infected host and the respiratory tract microbiome to understand transmission dynamics.
Dr. Ghedin’s omics-based predictive modeling project aims to predict severe disease outcome of influenza to develop point of care testing, as some people are more prone to severe versus mild influenza infections. Additionally, her Zika research will be used to develop predictive models for Zika disease severity.
In the Ghedin Lab, Dr. Ghedin offers students an opportunity to study genomic characteristics of human parasites and other pathogens. The research is multidisciplinary and draws upon the tools of genomics, molecular virology, and computational biology. Some projects include the study of influenza virus evolution and emergence, the analysis of the microbiome and mycobiome (fungal microbiota) associated with the pathogenesis of lung obstruction and emphysema in HIV patients, and the characterization of endosymbiotic interactions between filarial worms and Wolbachia. Additionally, Dr. Ghedin also collaborates on the GoViral Project.
As biology and diseases are all interrelated, in her Essentials of Public Health Biology class, Dr. Ghedin teaches the importance of having a foundation in human biology in order to work in any area of public health.
BS, Biology, McGill University, Montreal, CanadaMS, Environmental Sciences, University of Quebec, Montreal, CanadaPhD, Molecular Parasitology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Honors and awards
American Academy of Microbiology Fellow (2017)Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (2012)MacArthur Fellow (2011)Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award (2010)
Areas of research and study
BiologyGenomicsInfectious DiseasesViral Infections
Evaluation of determinants of the serological response to the quadrivalent split-inactivated influenza vaccine
Vaccination History, Body Mass Index, Age, and Baseline Gene Expression Predict Influenza Vaccination Outcomes
New proteomic signatures to distinguish between zika and dengue infectionsAllgoewer, K., Maity, S., Zhao, A., Lashua, L., Ramgopal, M., Balkaran, B. N., Liu, L., Purushwani, S., Arévalo, M. T., Ross, T. M., Choi, H., Ghedin, E., & Vogel, C. (n.d.).
Journal titleMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Volume20AbstractDistinguishing between Zika and dengue virus infections is critical for accurate treatment, but we still lack detailed understanding of their impact on their host. To identify new protein signatures of the two infections, we used next-generation proteomics to profile 122 serum samples from 62 Zika and dengue patients. We quantified >500 proteins and identified 13 proteins that were significantly differentially expressed (adjusted p-value < 0.05). These proteins typically function in infection and wound healing, with several also linked to pregnancy and brain function. We successfully validated expression differences with Carbonic Anhydrase 2 in both the original and an independent sample set. Three of the differentially expressed proteins, i.e., Fibrinogen Alpha, Platelet Factor 4 Variant 1, and Pro-Platelet Basic Protein, predicted Zika virus infection at a ~70% true-positive and 6% false-positive rate. Further, we showed that intraindividual temporal changes in protein signatures can disambiguate diagnoses and serve as indicators for past infections. Taken together, we demonstrate that serum proteomics can provide new resources that serve to distinguish between different viral infections.
A meta-analysis of Wolbachia transcriptomics reveals a stage-specific Wolbachia transcriptional response shared across different hostsChung, M., Basting, P. J., Patkus, R. S., Grote, A., Luck, A. N., Ghedin, E., Slatko, B. E., Michalski, M., Foster, J. M., Bergman, C. M., & Dunning Hotopp, J. C. (n.d.).
Journal titleG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Page(s)3243-3260AbstractWolbachia is a genus containing obligate, intracellular endosymbionts with arthropod and nematode hosts. Numerous studies have identified differentially expressed transcripts in Wolbachia endosymbionts that potentially inform the biological interplay between these endosymbionts and their hosts, albeit with discordant results. Here, we re-analyze previously published Wolbachia RNA-Seq transcriptomics data sets using a single workflow consisting of the most up-to-date algorithms and techniques, with the aim of identifying trends or patterns in the pan-Wolbachia transcriptional response. We find that data from one of the early studies in filarial nematodes did not allow for robust conclusions about Wolbachia differential expression with these methods, suggesting the original interpretations should be reconsidered. Across datasets analyzed with this unified workflow, there is a general lack of global gene regulation with the exception of a weak transcriptional response resulting in the upregulation of ribosomal proteins in early larval stages. This weak response is observed across diverse Wolbachia strains from both nematode and insect hosts suggesting a potential pan-Wolbachia transcriptional response during host development that diverged more than 700 million years ago.
A rapid and label-free platform for virus capture and identification from clinical samplesYeh, Y. T., Gulino, K., Zhang, Y. H., Sabestien, A., Chou, T. W., Zhou, B., Lin, Z., Albert, I., Lu, H., Swaminathan, V., Ghedin, E., & Terrones, M. (n.d.).
Journal titleProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Page(s)895-901AbstractEmerging and reemerging viruses are responsible for a number of recent epidemic outbreaks. A crucial step in predicting and controlling outbreaks is the timely and accurate characterization of emerging virus strains. We present a portable microfluidic platform containing carbon nanotube arrays with differential filtration porosity for the rapid enrichment and optical identification of viruses. Different emerging strains (or unknown viruses) can be enriched and identified in real time through a multivirus capture component in conjunction with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. More importantly, after viral capture and detection on a chip, viruses remain viable and get purified in a microdevice that permits subsequent in-depth characterizations by various conventional methods. We validated this platform using different subtypes of avian influenza A viruses and human samples with respiratory infections. This technology successfully enriched rhinovirus, influenza virus, and parainfluenza viruses, and maintained the stoichiometric viral proportions when the samples contained more than one type of virus, thus emulating coinfection. Viral capture and detection took only a few minutes with a 70-fold enrichment enhancement; detection could be achieved with as little as 102 EID50/mL (50% egg infective dose per microliter), with a virus specificity of 90%. After enrichment using the device, we demonstrated by sequencing that the abundance of viral-specific reads significantly increased from 4.1 to 31.8% for parainfluenza and from 0.08 to 0.44% for influenza virus. This enrichment method coupled to Raman virus identification constitutes an innovative system that could be used to quickly track and monitor viral outbreaks in real time.
Cell-to-cell variation in defective virus expression and effects on host responses during influenza virus infectionWang, C., Forst, C. V., Chou, T. W., Geber, A., Wang, M., Hamou, W., Smith, M., Sebra, R., Zhang, B., Zhou, B., & Ghedin, E. (n.d.).
Issue1AbstractVirus and host factors contribute to cell-to-cell variation in viral infections and determine the outcome of the overall infection. However, the extent of the variability at the single-cell level and how it impacts virus-host interactions at a system level are not well understood. To characterize the dynamics of viral transcription and host responses, we used single-cell RNA sequencing to quantify at multiple time points the host and viral transcriptomes of human A549 cells and primary bronchial epithelial cells infected with influenza A virus. We observed substantial variability in viral transcription between cells, including the accumulation of defective viral genomes (DVGs) that impact viral replication. We show (i) a correlation between DVGs and virus-induced variation of the host transcriptional program and (ii) an association between differential inductions of innate immune response genes and attenuated viral transcription in subpopulations of cells. These observations at the single-cell level improve our understanding of the complex virus-host interplay during influenza virus infection. IMPORTANCE Defective influenza virus particles generated during viral replication carry incomplete viral genomes and can interfere with the replication of competent viruses. These defective genomes are thought to modulate the disease severity and pathogenicity of an influenza virus infection. Different defective viral genomes also introduce another source of variation across a heterogeneous cell population. Evaluating the impact of defective virus genomes on host cell responses cannot be fully resolved at the population level, requiring single-cell transcriptional profiling. Here, we characterized virus and host transcriptomes in individual influenza virus-infected cells, including those of defective viruses that arise during influenza A virus infection. We established an association between defective virus transcription and host responses and validated interfering and immunostimulatory functions of identified dominant defective viral genome species in vitro. This study demonstrates the intricate effects of defective viral genomes on host transcriptional responses and highlights the importance of capturing host-virus interactions at the single-cell level.
Characterization of antibiotic resistance and host-microbiome interactions in the human upper respiratory tract during influenza infection
Crispr-mediated transfection of brugia malayiLiu, C., Grote, A., Ghedin, E., & Unnaschid, T. R. (n.d.).
Journal titlePLoS neglected tropical diseases
Page(s)1-15AbstractThe application of reverse genetics in the human filarial parasites has lagged due to the diffi-cult biology of these organisms. Recently, we developed a co-culture system that permitted the infective larval stage of Brugia malayi to be transfected and efficiently develop to fecund adults. This was exploited to develop a piggyBac transposon-based toolkit that can be used to produce parasites with transgene sequences stably integrated into the parasite genome. However, the piggyBac system has generally been supplanted by Clustered Regularly Inter-spaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) based technology, which allows precise editing of a genome. Here we report adapting the piggyBac mediated transfection system of B. malayi for CRISPR mediated knock-in insertion into the parasite genome. Suitable CRISPR insertion sites were identified in intergenic regions of the B. malayi genome. A dual reporter piggybac vector was modified, replacing the piggyBac inverted terminal repeat regions with sequences flanking the insertion site. B. malayi molting L3 were transfected with a synthetic guide RNA, the modified plasmid and the CAS9 nuclease. The transfected parasites were implanted into gerbils and allowed to develop into adults. Progeny microfilariae were recov-ered and screened for expression of a secreted luciferase reporter encoded in the plasmid. Approximately 3% of the microfilariae were found to secrete luciferase; all contained the transgenic sequences inserted at the expected location in the parasite genome. Using an adaptor mediated PCR assay, transgenic microfilariae were examined for the presence of off target insertions; no off-target insertions were found. These data demonstrate that CRISPR can be used to modify the genome of B. malayi, opening the way to precisely edit the genome of this important human filarial parasite.
Initial mapping of the new york city wastewater virome
Modeling the metabolic interplay between a parasitic worm and its bacterial endosymbiont allows the identification of novel drug targetsCurran, D. M., Grote, A., Nursimulu, N., Geber, A., Voronin, D., Jones, D. R., Ghedin, E., & Parkinson, J. (n.d.).
Page(s)1-28AbstractThe filarial nematode Brugia malayi represents a leading cause of disability in the developing world, causing lymphatic filariasis in nearly 40 million people. Currently available drugs are not well-suited to mass drug administration efforts, so new treatments are urgently required. One potential vulnerability is the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia—present in many filariae— which is vital to the worm. Genome scale metabolic networks have been used to study prokaryotes and protists and have proven valuable in identifying therapeutic targets, but have only been applied to multicellular eukaryotic organisms more recently. Here, we present iDC625, the first compartmentalized metabolic model of a parasitic worm. We used this model to show how metabolic pathway usage allows the worm to adapt to different environments, and predict a set of 102 reactions essential to the survival of B. malayi. We validated three of those reactions with drug tests and demonstrated novel antifilarial properties for all three compounds.
Nearly complete genome sequence of Brugia malayi strain FR3
Prediction pipeline for discovery of regulatory motifs associated with brugia Malayi moltingGrote, A., Li, Y., Liu, C., Voronin, D., Geber, A., Lustigman, S., Unnasch, T. R., Welch, L., & Ghedin, E. (n.d.).
Journal titlePLoS neglected tropical diseases
Page(s)1-16AbstractFilarial nematodes can cause debilitating diseases in humans. They have complicated life cycles involving an insect vector and mammalian hosts, and they go through a number of developmental molts. While whole genome sequences of parasitic worms are now avail-able, very little is known about transcription factor (TF) binding sites and their cognate transcription factors that play a role in regulating development. To address this gap, we developed a novel motif prediction pipeline, Emotif Alpha, that integrates ten different motif discovery algorithms, multiple statistical tests, and a comparative analysis of conserved elements between the filarial worms Brugia malayi and Onchocerca volvulus, and the free-liv-ing nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We identified stage-specific TF binding motifs in B. malayi, with a particular focus on those potentially involved in the L3-L4 molt, a stage important for the establishment of infection in the mammalian host. Using an in vitro molting sys-tem, we tested and validated three of these motifs demonstrating the accuracy of the motif prediction pipeline.
Quantifying between-host transmission in influenza virus infectionsJohnson, K. E., & Ghedin, E. (n.d.).
Journal titleCold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine
Page(s)1-15AbstractThe error-prone replication and life cycle of influenza virus generate a diverse set of genetic variants. Transmission between hosts strictly limits both the number of virus particles and the genetic diversity of virus variants that reach a new host and establish an infection. This sharp reduction in the virus population at transmission––the transmission bottleneck––is significant to the evolution of influenza virus and to its epidemic and pandemic potential. This review describes transmission bottlenecks and their effect on the diversity and evolution of influenza virus. It also reviews the methods for calculating and predicting bottleneck sizes and high-lights the host and viral determinants of influenza transmissibility.
Sex chromosome evolution in parasitic nematodes of humans
Age-Related Pathology Associated with H1N1 A/California/07/2009 Influenza Virus InfectionBissel, S. J., Carter, C. E., Wang, G., Johnson, S. K., Lashua, L. P., Kelvin, A. A., Wiley, C. A., Ghedin, E., & Ross, T. M. (n.d.).
Journal titleAmerican Journal of Pathology
Page(s)2389-2399AbstractInfluenza virus infection causes a spectrum of diseases, ranging from mild upper respiratory tract infection to severe lower respiratory tract infection, that can lead to diffuse alveolar damage, interstitial and airspace inflammation, or acute respiratory failure. Mechanisms instructing disease severity are not completely understood, but host, viral, and bacterial factors influence disease outcome. With age being one host factor associated with a higher risk of severe influenza, we investigated regional pulmonary distribution and severity of pneumonia after 2009 H1N1 influenza virus infection in newly weaned, adult, and aged ferrets to better understand age-dependent susceptibility and pathology. Aged ferrets exhibited greater weight loss and higher rates of mortality than adult ferrets, whereas most newly weaned ferrets did not lose weight but had a lack of weight gain. Newly weaned ferrets exhibited minimal pneumonia, whereas adult and aged ferrets had a spectrum of pneumonia severity. Influenza virus–induced pneumonia peaked earliest in adult ferrets, whereas aged ferrets had delayed presentation. Bronchial severity differed among groups, but bronchial pathology was comparable among all cohorts. Alveolar infection was strikingly different among groups. Newly weaned ferrets had little alveolar cell infection. Adult and aged ferrets had alveolar infection, but aged ferrets were unable to clear infection. These different age-related pneumonia and infection patterns suggest therapeutic strategies to treat influenza should be tailored contingent on age.
Development and characterization of a reverse-genetics system for influenza D virusYu, J., Liu, R., Zhou, B., Chou, T. W., Ghedin, E., Sheng, Z., Gao, R., Zhai, S. L., Wang, D., & Lia, F. (n.d.).
Journal titleJournal of virology
Issue21AbstractInfluenza D virus (IDV) of the Orthomyxoviridae family has a wide host range and a broad geographical distribution. Recent IDV outbreaks in swine along with serological and genetic evidence of IDV infection in humans have raised concerns regarding the zoonotic potential of this virus. To better study IDV at the molecular level, a reverse-genetics system (RGS) is urgently needed, but to date, no RGS had been described for IDV. In this study, we rescued the recombinant influenza D/swine/Oklahoma/1314/2011 (D/OK) virus by using a bidirectional seven-plasmid-based system and further characterized rescued viruses in terms of growth kinetics, replication stability, and receptor-binding capacity. Our results collectively demonstrated that RGS-derived viruses resembled the parental viruses for these properties, thereby supporting the utility of this RGS to study IDV infection biology. In addition, we developed an IDV minigenome replication assay and identified the E697K mutation in PB1 and the L462F mutation in PB2 that directly affected the activity of the IDV ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex, resulting in either attenuated or replication-incompetent viruses. Finally, by using the minigenome replication assay, we demonstrated that a single nucleotide polymorphism at position 5 of the 3= conserved noncoding region in IDV and influenza C virus (ICV) resulted in the inefficient cross-recognition of the heterotypic promoter by the viral RNP complex. In conclusion, we successfully developed a minigenome replication assay and a robust reverse-genetics system that can be used to further study replication, tropism, and pathogenesis of IDV. IMPORTANCE Influenza D virus (IDV) is a new type of influenza virus that uses cattle as the primary reservoir and infects multiple agricultural animals. Increased outbreaks in pigs and serological and genetic evidence of human infection have raised concerns about potential IDV adaptation in humans. Here, we have developed a plasmid-based IDV reverse-genetics system that can generate infectious viruses with replication kinetics similar to those of wild-type viruses following transfection of cultured cells. Further characterization demonstrated that viruses rescued from the described RGS resembled the parental viruses in biological and receptor-binding properties. We also developed and validated an IDV minireplicon reporter system that specifically measures viral RNA polymerase activity. In summary, the reverse-genetics system and minireplicon reporter assay described in this study should be of value in identifying viral determinants of cross-species transmission and pathogenicity of novel influenza D viruses.
Global phylogeography and ancient evolution of the widespread human gut virus crAssphageEdwards, R. A., Vega, A. A., Norman, H. M., Ohaeri, M., Levi, K., Dinsdale, E. A., Cinek, O., Aziz, R. K., McNair, K., Barr, J. J., Bibby, K., Brouns, S. J., Cazares, A., De Jonge, P. A., Desnues, C., Díaz Muñoz, S. L., Fineran, P. C., Kurilshikov, A., Lavigne, R., … Dutilh, B. E. (n.d.).
Journal titleNature Microbiology
Page(s)1727-1736AbstractMicrobiomes are vast communities of microorganisms and viruses that populate all natural ecosystems. Viruses have been considered to be the most variable component of microbiomes, as supported by virome surveys and examples of high genomic mosaicism. However, recent evidence suggests that the human gut virome is remarkably stable compared with that of other environments. Here, we investigate the origin, evolution and epidemiology of crAssphage, a widespread human gut virus. Through a global collaboration, we obtained DNA sequences of crAssphage from more than one-third of the world’s countries and showed that the phylogeography of crAssphage is locally clustered within countries, cities and individuals. We also found fully colinear crAssphage-like genomes in both Old-World and New-World primates, suggesting that the association of crAssphage with primates may be millions of years old. Finally, by exploiting a large cohort of more than 1,000 individuals, we tested whether crAssphage is associated with bacterial taxonomic groups of the gut microbiome, diverse human health parameters and a wide range of dietary factors. We identified strong correlations with different clades of bacteria that are related to Bacteroidetes and weak associations with several diet categories, but no significant association with health or disease. We conclude that crAssphage is a benign cosmopolitan virus that may have coevolved with the human lineage and is an integral part of the normal human gut virome.
Microbial composition of the human nasopharynx varies according to influenza virus type and vaccination statusDing, T., Song, T., Zhou, B., Geber, A., Ma, Y., Zhang, L., Volk, M., Kapadia, S. N., Jenkins, S. G., Salvatore, M., & Ghedin, E. (n.d.).
Issue4AbstractFactors that contribute to enhanced susceptibility to severe bacterial disease after influenza virus infection are not well defined but likely include the microbiome of the respiratory tract. Vaccination against influenza, while having variable effectiveness, could also play a role in microbial community stability. We collected nasopharyngeal samples from 215 individuals infected with influenza A/H3N2 or influenza B virus and profiled the microbiota by target sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. We identified signature taxonomic groups by performing linear discriminant analysis and effective size comparisons (LEfSe) and defined bacterial community types using Dirichlet multinomial mixture (DMM) models. Influenza infection was shown to be significantly associated with microbial composition of the nasopharynx according to the virus type and the vaccination status of the patient. We identified four microbial community types across the combined cohort of influenza patients and healthy individuals with one community type most representative of the influenza virus-infected group. We also identified microbial taxa for which relative abundance was significantly higher in the unvaccinated elderly group; these taxa include species known to be associated with pneumonia. IMPORTANCE Our results suggest that there is a significant association between the composition of the microbiota in the nasopharynx and the influenza virus type causing the infection. We observe that vaccination status, especially in more senior individuals, also has an association with the microbial community profile. This indicates that vaccination against influenza, even when ineffective to prevent disease, could play a role in controlling secondary bacterial complications.
Pyruvate produced by Brugia spp. via glycolysis is essential for maintaining the mutualistic association between the parasite and its endosymbiont, Wolbachia
Reply to ‘Reconciling disparate estimates of viral genetic diversity during human influenza infections’
Taxonomy of the order Mononegavirales: second update 2018Maes, P., Amarasinghe, G. K., Ayllón, M. A., Basler, C. F., Bavari, S., Blasdell, K. R., Briese, T., Brown, P. A., Bukreyev, A., Balkema-Buschmann, A., Buchholz, U. J., Chandran, K., Crozier, I., De Swart, R. L., Dietzgen, R. G., Dolnik, O., Domier, L. L., Drexler, J. F., Dürrwald, R., … Kuhn, J. H. (n.d.).
Journal titleArchives of Virology
Page(s)1233-1244AbstractIn October 2018, the order Mononegavirales was amended by the establishment of three new families and three new genera, abolishment of two genera, and creation of 28 novel species. This article presents the updated taxonomy of the order Mononegavirales as now accepted by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).
Comparison of the nasopharynx microbiome between influenza and non-influenza cases of severe acute respiratory infections: A pilot study
Fungi stabilize connectivity in the lung and skin microbial ecosystems
Measuring associations between the microbiota and repeated measures of continuous clinical variables using a lasso-penalized generalized linear mixed modelTipton, L., Cuenco, K. T., Huang, L., Greenblatt, R. M., Kleerup, E., Sciurba, F., Duncan, S. R., Donahoe, M. P., Morris, A., & Ghedin, E. (n.d.).
Journal titleBioData Mining
Issue1AbstractBackground: Human microbiome studies in clinical settings generally focus on distinguishing the microbiota in health from that in disease at a specific point in time. However, microbiome samples may be associated with disease severity or continuous clinical health indicators that are often assessed at multiple time points. While the temporal data from clinical and microbiome samples may be informative, analysis of this type of data can be problematic for standard statistical methods. Results: To identify associations between microbiota and continuous clinical variables measured repeatedly in two studies of the respiratory tract, we adapted a statistical method, the lasso-penalized generalized linear mixed model (LassoGLMM). LassoGLMM can screen for associated clinical variables, incorporate repeated measures of individuals, and address the large number of species found in the microbiome. As is common in microbiome studies, when the number of variables is an order of magnitude larger than the number of samples LassoGLMM can be imperfect in its variable selection. We overcome this limitation by adding a pre-screening step to reduce the number of variables evaluated in the model. We assessed the use of this adapted two-stage LassoGLMM for its ability to determine which microbes are associated with continuous repeated clinical measures. We found associations (retaining a non-zero coefficient in the LassoGLMM) between 10 laboratory measurements and 43 bacterial genera in the oral microbiota, and between 2 cytokines and 3 bacterial genera in the lung. We compared our associations with those identified by the Wilcoxon test after dichotomizing our outcomes and identified a non-significant trend towards differential abundance between high and low outcomes. Our two-step LassoGLMM explained more of the variance seen in the outcome of interest than other variants of the LassoGLMM method. Conclusions: We demonstrated a method that can account for the large number of genera detected in microbiome studies and repeated measures of clinical or longitudinal studies, allowing for the detection of strong associations between microbes and clinical measures. By incorporating the design strengths of repeated measurements and a prescreening step to aid variable selection, our two-step LassoGLMM will be a useful analytic method for investigating relationships between microbes and repeatedly measured continuous outcomes.
Profiling the airway in the macaque model of tuberculosis reveals variable microbial dysbiosis and alteration of community structure