Contact Information

Phone: 919-684-3630
Office Address:
Edwin L. Jones Research Bdg.
207 Research Dr, Rm 257
Durham, NC 27705

Edwin L. Jones Research Bdg.
207 Research Dr, Rms 251, 253, 255
Durham, NC 27705
Lab Phone: 919-684-6942

Postal Address:
DUMC 3020
Durham, NC 27710

Abraham Lab

Soman Abraham, PhD

Abraham Lab

Soman Ninan Abraham, PhD, MS, BS

Professor in Pathology
Director of Graduate Studies in Pathology
Co-Director of Duke Summer Research Opportunities Program

Research Interests

This laboratory focuses on two main research areas:

(a) Elucidating the role of mast cells in modulating immune responses to microbial pathogens.
Our studies have revealed that mast cells play a key sentinel role and upon bacterial or viral infection, modulate both innate and adaptive immune responses through the release of immunomodulatory molecules borne in granules. Our current investigations are centered on elucidating the molecular and cellular aspects of how mast cells mediate their immunomodulatory role. We are also examining several mast cell-targeted strategies to boost immunity to infections as well as reduce any pathological consequences of infection.

(b) Investigating cross-talk between the immune system and distinct infectious agents such as Uropathogenic E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium and Yersinia pestis.
We have recognized that different pathogens possess distinct mechanisms to evade or coopt one or more immune cells to establish infection. Our studies now dwell on developing novel pathogen-specific strategies to combat infection.

* Please go to the Abraham Lab Website for More Information *


Please see  Pub Med  for current listings 

  • Choi HW, Bowen SE, Miao Y, Chan CY, Miao EA, Abrink M, Moeser AJ, Abraham SN. Loss of Bladder Epithelium Induced by Cytolytic Mast Cell Granules. Immunity  2016, 45(6):1258-1269 Abstract
  • Ang, W. G., Church, A. M., Kulis, M., Choi, H. W., Burks, A. W., & Abraham, S. N. Mast cell desensitization inhibits calcium flux and aberrantly remodels actin. The Journal of Clinical Investigation 2016,126(11):4103-4118 Abstract
  • Karhausen, J., & Abraham, S. N. How mast cells make decisions. The Journal of Clinical Investigation 2016, 126(10):3735-3738 Abstract
  • Chan KR, Wang X, Saron WA, Gan ES, Tan HC, Mok DZ, Zhang SL, Lee YH, Liang C, Wijaya L, Ghosh S, Cheung YB, Tannenbaum SR, Abraham SN, St John AL, Low JG, Ooi EE. Cross-reactive antibodies enhance live attenuated virus infection for increased immunogenicity. Nature Microbiology 2016, 1, 16164  Abstract
  • Miao, Y., Wu, J., & Abraham, S. N. Ubiquitination of innate immune regulator TRAF3 orchestrates expulsion of intracellular bacteria by exocyst complex. Immunity 2016, 45(1): 94-105 Abstract
  • Abraham SN, Miao Y. The nature of immune responses to urinary tract infections. Nat Rev Immunol 2015, 15 (10):655-663. Abstract
  • Miao Y, Li G, Zhang X, Xu H, Abraham SN. A TRP Channel Senses Lysosome Neutralization by Pathogens to Trigger Their Expulsion. Cell 2015, 161 (6):1306-1319. Abstract
  • St John AL, Ang WX, Huang MN, Kunder CA, Chan EW, Gunn MD, Abraham SN. S1P-Dependent trafficking of intracellular yersinia pestis through lymph nodes establishes Buboes and systemic infection. Immunity 2014, 41 (3):440-450. Abstract
  • St John AL, Rathore AP, Raghavan B, Ng ML, Abraham SN. Contributions of mast cells and vasoactive products, leukotrienes and chymase, to dengue virus-induced vascular leakage. Elife 2013, 2 e00481. Abstract
  • Karhausen J, Qing M, Gibson A, Moeser AJ, Griefingholt H, Hale LP, Abraham SN, Mackensen GB. Intestinal mast cells mediate gut injury and systemic inflammation in a rat model of deep hypothermic circulatory arrest. Crit Care Med 2013, 41 (9):e200-210. Abstract
  • Choi HW, Brooking-Dixon R, Neupane S, Lee CJ, Miao EA, Staats HF, Abraham SN. Salmonella typhimurium impedes innate immunity with a mast-cell-suppressing protein tyrosine phosphatase, SptP. Immunity 2013, 39 (6):1108-1120. Abstract
  • Chan CY, St John AL, Abraham SN. Mast cell interleukin-10 drives localized tolerance in chronic bladder infection. Immunity 2013, 38 (2):349-359.Abstract
  • St John AL, Chan CY, Staats HF, Leong KW, Abraham SN. Synthetic mast-cell granules as adjuvants to promote and polarize immunity in lymph nodes. Nat Mater 2012, 11 (3):250-257. Abstract
  •  St John AL, Rathore AP, Yap H, Ng ML, Metcalfe DD, Vasudevan SG, Abraham SN. Immune surveillance by mast cells during dengue infection promotes natural killer (NK) and NKT-cell recruitment and viral clearance. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011, 108 (22):9190-9195. Abstract
  • Abraham, SN; St John, AL. Mast cell-orchestrated immunity to pathogens. Nature Reviews Immunology. 2010;10:440-452.  Abstract
  • Hofmann, AM; Abraham, SN. New roles for mast cells in modulating allergic reactions and immunity against pathogens. Current Opinion in Immunology. 2009;21:679-686.  Abstract
  • Kunder, CA; St John, AL; Li, G; Leong, KW; Berwin, B; Staats, HF; Abraham, SN. Mast cell-derived particles deliver peripheral signals to remote lymph nodes. The Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2009;206:2455-2467.  Abstract
  • Shelburne, CP; Nakano, H; St John, AL; Chan, C; McLachlan, JB; Gunn, MD; Staats, HF; Abraham, SN. Mast cells augment adaptive immunity by orchestrating dendritic cell trafficking through infected tissues. Cell Host and Microbe. 2009;6:331-342.  Abstract
  • Song, J; Bishop, BL; Li, G; Grady, R; Stapleton, A; Abraham, SN. TLR4-mediated expulsion of bacteria from infected bladder epithelial cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. 2009;106:14966-14971.  Abstract
  • St John, AL; Abraham, SN. Salmonella disrupts lymph node architecture by TLR4-mediated suppression of homeostatic chemokines. Nature Medicine. 2009;15:1259-1265.  Abstract
  • Zaas, DW; Swan, ZD; Brown, BJ; Li, G; Randell, SH; Degan, S; Sunday, ME; Wright, JR; Abraham, SN. Counteracting signaling activities in lipid rafts associated with the invasion of lung epithelial cells by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2009;284:9955-9964.  Abstract
  • McLachlan, JB; Shelburne, CP; Hart, JP; Pizzo, SV; Goyal, R; Brooking-Dixon, R; Staats, HF; Abraham, SN. Mast cell activators: a new class of highly effective vaccine adjuvants. Nature Medicine. 2008;14:536-541.  Abstract
  • Song, J; Abraham, SN. TLR-mediated immune responses in the urinary tract. Current Opinion in Microbiology. 2008;11:66-73.  Abstract
  • Bishop, BL; Duncan, MJ; Song, J; Li, G; Zaas, D; Abraham, SN. Cyclic AMP-regulated exocytosis of Escherichia coli from infected bladder epithelial cells. Nature Medicine. 2007;13:625-630.  Abstract
  • Song, J; Bishop, BL; Li, G; Duncan, MJ; Abraham, SN. TLR4-initiated and cAMP-mediated abrogation of bacterial invasion of the bladder. Cell Host and Microbe. 2007;1:287-298.  Abstract
  • Song, J; Duncan, MJ; Li, G; Chan, C; Grady, R; Stapleton, A; Abraham, SN. A novel TLR4-mediated signaling pathway leading to IL-6 responses in human bladder epithelial cells. PLoS pathogens. 2007;3:e60.  Abstract
  • Shin, JS; Shelburne, CP; Jin, C; LeFurgey, EA; Abraham, SN. Harboring of particulate allergens within secretory compartments by mast cells following IgE/FcepsilonRI-lipid raft-mediated phagocytosis. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2006;177:5791-5800.  Abstract
  • Duncan, MJ; Mann, EL; Cohen, MS; Ofek, I; Sharon, N; Abraham, SN. The distinct binding specificities exhibited by enterobacterial type 1 fimbriae are determined by their fimbrial shafts. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2005;280:37707-37716.  Abstract
  • Zaas, DW; Duncan, M; Rae Wright, J; Abraham, SN. The role of lipid rafts in the pathogenesis of bacterial infections. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta: international journal of biochemistry and biophysics. 2005;1746:305-313.  Abstract
  • McLachlan, JB; Hart, JP; Pizzo, SV; Shelburne, CP; Staats, HF; Gunn, MD; Abraham, SN. Mast cell-derived tumor necrosis factor induces hypertrophy of draining lymph nodes during infection. Nature Immunology. 2003;4:1199-1205.  Abstract
  • McLachlan, JB; Abraham, SN. Studies of the multifaceted mast cell response to bacteria. Current Opinion in Microbiology. 2001;4:260-266.  Abstract
  • Shin, JS; Abraham, SN. Cell biology. Caveolae--not just craters in the cellular landscape. Science. 2001;293:1447-1448.  Abstract
  • Shin, JS; Abraham, SN. Co-option of endocytic functions of cellular caveolae by pathogens. Immunology. 2001;102:2-7.  Abstract
  • Shin, JS; Gao, Z; Abraham, SN. Involvement of cellular caveolae in bacterial entry into mast cells. Science. 2000;289:785-788.  Abstract
  • Malaviya, R; Gao, Z; Thankavel, K; van der Merwe, PA; Abraham, SN. The mast cell tumor necrosis factor alpha response to FimH-expressing Escherichia coli is mediated by the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored molecule CD48. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. 1999;96:8110-8115.  Abstract
  • Thankavel, K; Shah, AH; Cohen, MS; Ikeda, T; Lorenz, RG; Curtiss, R; Abraham, SN. Molecular basis for the enterocyte tropism exhibited by Salmonella typhimurium type 1 fimbriae. The Journal of biological chemistry. 1999;274:5797-5809.  Abstract
  • Belaaouaj, A; McCarthy, R; Baumann, M; Gao, Z; Ley, TJ; Abraham, SN; Shapiro, SD. Mice lacking neutrophil elastase reveal impaired host defense against gram negative bacterial sepsis. Nature Medicine. 1998;4:615-618.  Abstract
  • Baorto, DM; Gao, Z; Malaviya, R; Dustin, ML; van der Merwe, A; Lublin, DM; Abraham, SN. Survival of FimH-expressing enterobacteria in macrophages relies on glycolipid traffic. Nature. 1997;389:636-639.  Abstract
  • Thankavel, K; Madison, B; Ikeda, T; Malaviya, R; Shah, AH; Arumugam, PM; Abraham, SN. Localization of a domain in the FimH adhesin of Escherichia coli type 1 fimbriae capable of receptor recognition and use of a domain-specific antibody to confer protection against experimental urinary tract infection. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1997;100:1123-1136.  Abstract
  • Malaviya, R; Ikeda, T; Ross, E; Abraham, SN. Mast cell modulation of neutrophil influx and bacterial clearance at sites of infection through TNF-alpha. Nature. 1996;381:77-80.  Abstract
  • Jones, CH; Pinkner, JS; Roth, R; Heuser, J; Nicholes, AV; Abraham, SN; Hultgren, SJ. FimH adhesin of type 1 pili is assembled into a fibrillar tip structure in the Enterobacteriaceae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. 1995;92:2081-2085.  Abstract
  • Malaviya, R; Ross, E; Jakschik, BA; Abraham, SN. Mast cell degranulation induced by type 1 fimbriated Escherichia coli in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1994;93:1645-1653.  Abstract
  • Jones, CH; Pinkner, JS; Nicholes, AV; Slonim, LN; Abraham, SN; Hultgren, SJ. FimC is a periplasmic PapD-like chaperone that directs assembly of type 1 pili in bacteria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. 1993;90:8397-8401.  Abstract
  • Abraham, SN; Sun, D; Dale, JB; Beachey, EH. Conservation of the D-mannose-adhesion protein among type 1 fimbriated members of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Nature. 1988;336:682-684.  Abstract