Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology



Eric Patrick Skaar, Ph.D, M.P.H.



Ernest W. Goodpasture Professor

Vice Chair for Basic Sciences & Director of the Division of Molecular Pathogenesis



Contact Information



Office Location:
MCN A-5102A

Phone: 615-343-0002

E-mail:  eric.skaar@vanderbilt.edu


Lab URL:  www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/microbio/SkaarLab/HTML/skaarlabindex.html


Campus Mail address:

Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology-5th Fl

MCN A-5301 (2363)


US Mailing address:
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Dept of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
MCN A-5301
Nashville, TN 37232-2363






Ph.D., Northwestern University
M.P.H., Northwestern University
B.S., University of Wisconsin



Research Keywords





Research Description



In order for bacterial pathogens to cause disease, they must obtain nutrients inside their vertebrate hosts. The primary nutrients that are limiting to the growth of bacteria inside vertebrates are metals. This is due to the fact that vertebrates have developed numerous metal chelation systems that serve as a host defense against microbial infection. This process is called nutritional immunity. My laboratory is interested in identifying the host and bacterial factors that are involved in this battle for metal during the pathogenesis of infectious diseases. We use techniques from biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and chemistry to answer fundamental questions pertaining to the host-pathogen interaction. In particular, we focus on diseases caused by the important human pathogens Staphylococcus aureus (Staph infections), Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax), and Acinetobacter baumannii (leading cause of hospital infections and battlefield wound infections). The long term goal of our research is to develop novel therapies to treat microbial diseases.






Hood, MI, Skaar, EP. Nutritional immunity: transition metals at the pathogen-host interface. Nat Rev Microbiol, 10(8), 525-37, 2012

Liu, JZ, Jellbauer, S, Poe, AJ, Ton, V, Pesciaroli, M, Kehl-Fie, TE, Restrepo, NA, Hosking, MP, Edwards, RA, Battistoni, A, Pasquali, P, Lane, TE, Chazin, WJ, Vogl, T, Roth, J, Skaar, EP, Raffatellu, M. Zinc sequestration by the neutrophil protein calprotectin enhances Salmonella growth in the inflamed gut. Cell Host Microbe, 11(3), 227-39, 2012

Pishchany, G, Skaar, EP. Taste for blood: hemoglobin as a nutrient source for pathogens. PLoS Pathog, 8(3), e1002535, 2012

Damo, S, Chazin, WJ, Skaar, EP, Kehl-Fie, TE. Inhibition of bacterial superoxide defense: A new front in the struggle between host and pathogen. Virulence, 3(3), 2012

Attia, AS, Schroeder, KA, Seeley, EH, Wilson, KJ, Hammer, ND, Colvin, DC, Manier, ML, Nicklay, JJ, Rose, KL, Gore, JC, Caprioli, RM, Skaar, EP. Monitoring the inflammatory response to infection through the integration of MALDI IMS and MRI. Cell Host Microbe, 11(6), 664-73, 2012

Mortensen, BL, Skaar, EP. Host-microbe interactions that shape the pathogenesis of Acinetobacter baumannii infection. Cell Microbiol, 2012

Wakeman, CA, Skaar, EP. Metalloregulation of Gram-positive pathogen physiology. Curr Opin Microbiol, 2011

Reniere, ML, Haley, KP, Skaar, EP. The flexible loop of Staphylococcus aureus IsdG is required for its degradation in the absence of heme. Biochemistry, 50(31), 6730-7, 2011

Hammer, ND, Skaar, EP. Molecular mechanisms of Staphylococcus aureus iron acquisition. Annu Rev Microbiol, 65, 129-47, 2011

Krishna Kumar, K, Jacques, DA, Pishchany, G, Caradoc-Davies, T, Spirig, T, Malmirchegini, GR, Langley, DB, Dickson, CF, Mackay, JP, Clubb, RT, Skaar, EP, Guss, JM, Gell, DA. Structural basis for hemoglobin capture by Staphylococcus aureus cell-surface protein, IsdH. J Biol Chem, 286(44), 38439-47, 2011

Olson, PD, Kuechenmeister, LJ, Anderson, KL, Daily, S, Beenken, KE, Roux, CM, Reniere, ML, Lewis, TL, Weiss, WJ, Pulse, M, Nguyen, P, Simecka, JW, Morrison, JM, Sayood, K, Asojo, OA, Smeltzer, MS, Skaar, EP, Dunman, PM. Small molecule inhibitors of Staphylococcus aureus RnpA alter cellular mRNA turnover, exhibit antimicrobial activity, and attenuate pathogenesis. PLoS Pathog, 7(2), e1001287, 2011

Hammer, ND, Skaar, EP. The impact of metal sequestration on Staphylococcus aureus metabolism. Curr Opin Microbiol, 2011

Haley, KP, Skaar, EP. A battle for iron: host sequestration and Staphylococcus aureus acquisition. Microbes Infect, 2011

Cassat, JE, Skaar, EP. Metal ion acquisition in Staphylococcus aureus: overcoming nutritional immunity. Semin Immunopathol, 2011

Anzaldi, LL, Skaar, EP. The evolution of a superbug: how Staphylococcus aureus overcomes its unique susceptibility to polyamines. Mol Microbiol, 82(1), 1-3, 2011

Grossoehme, N, Kehl-Fie, TE, Ma, Z, Adams, KW, Cowart, DM, Scott, RA, Skaar, EP, Giedroc, DP. Control of copper resistance and inorganic sulfur metabolism by paralogous regulators in Staphylococcus aureus. J Biol Chem, 286(15), 13522-31, 2011

Haley, KP, Janson, EM, Heilbronner, S, Foster, TJ, Skaar, EP. Staphylococcus lugdunensis IsdG liberates iron from host heme. J Bacteriol, 193(18), 4749-57, 2011

Kehl-Fie, TE, Chitayat, S, Hood, MI, Damo, S, Restrepo, N, Garcia, C, Munro, KA, Chazin, WJ, Skaar, EP. Nutrient metal sequestration by calprotectin inhibits bacterial superoxide defense, enhancing neutrophil killing of Staphylococcus aureus. Cell Host Microbe, 10(2), 158-64, 2011

Anzaldi, LL, Skaar, EP. Overcoming the heme paradox: heme toxicity and tolerance in bacterial pathogens. Infect Immun, 78(12), 4977-89, 2010

Pishchany, G, McCoy, AL, Torres, VJ, Krause, JC, Crowe, JE, Fabry, ME, Skaar, EP. Specificity for human hemoglobin enhances Staphylococcus aureus infection. Cell Host Microbe, 8(6), 544-50, 2010

House, DL, Chon, CH, Creech, CB, Skaar, EP, Li, D. Miniature on-chip detection of unpurified methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) DNA using real-time PCR. J Biotechnol, 146(3), 93-9, 2010

Jacobs, AC, Hood, I, Boyd, KL, Olson, PD, Morrison, JM, Carson, S, Sayood, K, Iwen, PC, Skaar, EP, Dunman, PM. Inactivation of phospholipase D diminishes Acinetobacter baumannii pathogenesis. Infect Immun, 78(5), 1952-62, 2010

Skaar, EP. The Battle for Iron between Bacterial Pathogens and Their Vertebrate Hosts. PLoS Pathog, 6(8), 2010

Attia, AS, Benson, MA, Stauff, DL, Torres, VJ, Skaar, EP. Membrane damage elicits an immunomodulatory program in Staphylococcus aureus. PLoS Pathog, 6(3), e1000802, 2010

Torres, VJ, Attia, AS, Mason, WJ, Hood, MI, Corbin, BD, Beasley, FC, Anderson, KL, Stauff, DL, McDonald, WH, Zimmerman, LJ, Friedman, DB, Heinrichs, DE, Dunman, PM, Skaar, EP. Staphylococcus aureus fur regulates the expression of virulence factors that contribute to the pathogenesis of pneumonia. Infect Immun, 78(4), 1618-28, 2010

Reniere, ML, Ukpabi, GN, Harry, SR, Stec, DF, Krull, R, Wright, DW, Bachmann, BO, Murphy, ME, Skaar, EP. The IsdG-family of haem oxygenases degrades haem to a novel chromophore. Mol Microbiol, 75(6), 1529-38, 2010

Hood, MI, Jacobs, AC, Sayood, K, Dunman, PM, Skaar, EP. Acinetobacter baumannii increases tolerance to antibiotics in response to monovalent cations. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 54(3), 1029-41, 2010

Kehl-Fie, TE, Skaar, EP. Nutritional immunity beyond iron: a role for manganese and zinc. Curr Opin Chem Biol, 14(2), 218-24, 2010

Mason, WJ, Skaar, EP. Assessing the contribution of heme-iron acquisition to Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia using computed tomography. PLoS One, 4(8), e6668, 2009

Stauff, DL, Skaar, EP. Bacillus anthracis HssRS signaling to HrtAB regulates heme resistance during infection. Mol Microbiol, 2009

Stauff, DL, Skaar, EP. The heme sensor system of Staphylococcus aureus. Contrib Microbiol, 16, 120-35, 2009

Skaar, EP. A precious metal heist. Cell Host Microbe, 5(5), 422-4, 2009

Stauff DL, Skaar, EP. The heme sensor system of Staphylococcus aureus.. Contrib Microbiol, 16, 120-135, 2009

Pishchany, G, Dickey, SE, Skaar, EP. Subcellular localization of the Staphylococcus aureus heme iron transport components IsdA and IsdB. Infect Immun, 77(7), 2624-34, 2009

Palazzolo-Ballance, AM, Reniere, ML, Braughton, KR, Sturdevant, DE, Otto, M, Kreiswirth, BN, Skaar, EP, DeLeo, FR. Neutrophil microbicides induce a pathogen survival response in community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. J Immunol, 180(1), 500-9, 2008

Lee, WC, Reniere, ML, Skaar, EP, Murphy, ME. Ruffling of metalloporphyrins bound to IsdG and IsdI, two heme-degrading enzymes in Staphylococcus aureus. J Biol Chem, 283(45), 30957-63, 2008

Stauff, DL, Bagaley, D, Torres, VJ, Joyce, R, Anderson, KL, Kuechenmeister, L, Dunman, PM, Skaar, EP. Staphylococcus aureus HrtA is an ATPase required for protection against heme toxicity and prevention of a transcriptional heme stress response. J Bacteriol, 190(10), 3588-96, 2008

Reniere, ML, Skaar, EP. Staphylococcus aureus heme oxygenases are differentially regulated by iron and heme. Mol Microbiol, 2008

Corbin, BD, Seeley, EH, Raab, A, Feldmann, J, Miller, MR, Torres, VJ, Anderson, KL, Dattilo, BM, Dunman, PM, Gerads, R, Caprioli, RM, Nacken, W, Chazin, WJ, Skaar, EP. Metal chelation and inhibition of bacterial growth in tissue abscesses. Science, 319(5865), 962-5, 2008

Torres, VJ, Stauff, DL, Pishchany, G, Bezbradica, JS, Gordy, LE, Iturregui, J, Anderson, KL, Dunman, PM, Joyce, S, Skaar, EP. A Staphylococcus aureus regulatory system that responds to host heme and modulates virulence. Cell Host Microbe, 1(2), 109-19, 2007

Stauff, DL, Torres, VJ, Skaar, EP. Signaling and DNA-binding activities of the Staphylococcus aureus HssR-HssS two-component system required for heme sensing. J Biol Chem, 282(36), 26111-21, 2007

Torres, V.J., Stauff, D.L., Pishchany, G., Bezbradica, J.S., Gordy, L.E., Iturregui, J., Anderson, K.L, Dunman, P.M., Joyce, S., Skaar, E.P. . A Staphylococcus aureus regulatory system that responds to host heme and modulates virulence. . Cell Host and Microbe(1), 109-119, 2007

Reniere, ML, Torres, VJ, Skaar, EP. Intracellular metalloporphyrin metabolism in Staphylococcus aureus. Biometals, 2007

Skaar, EP, Gaspar, AH, Schneewind, O. Bacillus anthracis IsdG, a heme-degrading monooxygenase. J Bacteriol, 188(3), 1071-80, 2006

Torres, VJ, Pishchany, G, Humayun, M, Schneewind, O, Skaar, EP. Staphylococcus aureus IsdB is a Hemoglobin Receptor Required for Heme-Iron Utilization. J Bacteriol, 2006

Friedman, DB, Stauff, DL, Pishchany, G, Whitwell, CW, Torres, VJ, Skaar, EP. Staphylococcus aureus Redirects Central Metabolism to Increase Iron Availability. PLoS Pathog, 2(8), 2006

Skaar, EP, Lecuyer, B, Lenich, AG, Lazio, MP, Perkins-Balding, D, Seifert, HS, Karls, AC. Analysis of the Piv recombinase-related gene family of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. J Bacteriol, 187(4), 1276-86, 2005

Wu, R, Skaar, EP, Zhang, R, Joachimiak, G, Gornicki, P, Schneewind, O, Joachimiak, A. Staphylococcus aureus IsdG and IsdI, heme-degrading enzymes with structural similarity to monooxygenases. J Biol Chem, 280(4), 2840-6, 2005

Skaar, EP, Gaspar, AH, Schneewind, O. IsdG and IsdI, heme-degrading enzymes in the cytoplasm of Staphylococcus aureus. J Biol Chem, 279(1), 436-43, 2004

Skaar, EP, Humayun, M, Bae, T, DeBord, KL, Schneewind, O. Iron-source preference of Staphylococcus aureus infections. Science, 305(5690), 1626-8, 2004

Skaar, EP, Schneewind, O. Iron-regulated surface determinants (Isd) of Staphylococcus aureus: stealing iron from heme. Microbes Infect, 6(4), 390-7, 2004

Kline, KA, Sechman, EV, Skaar, EP, Seifert, HS. Recombination, repair and replication in the pathogenic Neisseriae: the 3 R's of molecular genetics of two human-specific bacterial pathogens. Mol Microbiol, 50(1), 3-13, 2003

Mazmanian, SK, Skaar, EP, Gaspar, AH, Humayun, M, Gornicki, P, Jelenska, J, Joachmiak, A, Missiakas, DM, Schneewind, O. Passage of heme-iron across the envelope of Staphylococcus aureus. Science, 299(5608), 906-9, 2003

Skaar, EP, Seifert, HS. The misidentification of bacterial genes as human cDNAs: was the human D-1 tumor antigen gene acquired from bacteria. Genomics, 79(5), 625-7, 2002

Skaar, EP, Lazio, MP, Seifert, HS. Roles of the recJ and recN genes in homologous recombination and DNA repair pathways of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. J Bacteriol, 184(4), 919-27, 2002

Hickman, JW, Barber, RD, Skaar, EP, Donohue, TJ. Link between the membrane-bound pyridine nucleotide transhydrogenase and glutathione-dependent processes in Rhodobacter sphaeroides. J Bacteriol, 184(2), 400-9, 2002

Skaar, EP, Tobiason, DM, Quick, J, Judd, RC, Weissbach, H, Etienne, F, Brot, N, Seifert, HS. The outer membrane localization of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae MsrA/B is involved in survival against reactive oxygen species. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 99(15), 10108-13, 2002