Zeichner, Steven L.

Steven Zeichner

Steven L. Zeichner

Primary Appointment

Professor, Pediatrics


  • BA, Biology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • PhD, Microbiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • MD, Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Intern/ Resident, Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Fellowship, Pediatric Infectious Disease, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Contact Information

Telephone: 434-297-7718
Fax: 434-981-0167
Email: zeichner@virginia.edu

Research Interests

Pathogenesis of infectious diseases and the development of new therapies and vaccines for infectious diseases and cancers.

Research Description

We study infectious disease pathogenesis and work to develop new therapies and diagnostics for infectious diseases and cancers using the new insights that we develop. In one set of projects we are working to turn the gastrointestinal (GI) immune system of a mouse into a technology called Intestinal Selection of Immunogenic Antigens (ISIA) that can distinguish highly immunogenic antigens from less immunogenic antigens. The technology employs a combination of synthetic biology, new insights into the microbiome, the notion of DNA barcoding, and Gram-negative autotransporters to interrogate, without any advance assumptions or biases, the entire, intact GI immune system of a mouse. In ISIA, we synthesize a set of plasmids, each of which carries a unique DNA barcode and places a test protein on the surface of bacteria capable of long-term colonization of the GI tract using a Gram-negative autotransporter. We inoculate mice with bacteria transformed with the set of barcoded plasmids expressing the different test proteins, and then assay for the abundance of the different barcodes in the feces of mice. If the GI immune system of the mice identifies a surface test protein as being particularly immunogenic it will, in a Darwinian sense, select against" the bacteria expressing the immunogenic antigen and eliminate it from the GI tract. We detect elimination from the GI tract using assays for the DNA barcodes.

Selected Publications