David Gondek

Associate Professor, Biology
School: School of Humanities and Sciences



Most Recent:

Hannah Grazul , L Leann Kanda , David Gondek  Impact of probiotic supplements on microbiome diversity following antibiotic treatment of mice Gut Microbes. 2016;7(2):101-14. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2016.1138197. Epub 2016 Mar 10.


Shifts in microbial populations of the intestinal tract have been associated with a multitude of nutritional, autoimmune, and infectious diseases. The limited diversity following antibiotic treatments creates a window for opportunistic pathogens, diarrhea, and inflammation as the microbiome repopulates. Depending on the antibiotics used, microbial diversity can take weeks to months to recover. To alleviate this loss of diversity in the intestinal microbiota, supplementation with probiotics has become increasingly popular. However, our understanding of the purported health benefits of these probiotic bacteria and their ability to shape the microbiome is significantly lacking. This study examined the impact of probiotics concurrent with antibiotic treatment or during the recovery phase following antibiotic treatment of mice. We found that probiotics did not appear to colonize the intestine themselves or shift the overall diversity of the intestinal microbiota. However, the probiotic supplementation did significantly change the types of bacteria which were present. In particular, during the recovery phase the probiotic caused a suppression of Enterobacteriaceae outgrowth (Shigella and Escherichia) while promoting a blooming of Firmicutes, particularly from the Anaerotruncus genus. These results indicate that probiotics have a significant capacity to remodel the microbiome of an individual recovering from antibiotic therapy.

Joshua E Messinger , Emmalin Nelton , Colleen Feeney , David Gondek Chlamydia Infection Across Host Species Boundaries Promotes Distinct Sets of Transcribed Anti-Apoptotic Factors Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2015 Dec 23;5:96. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2015.00096. eCollection 2015. 


Chlamydiae, obligate intracellular bacteria, cause significant human and veterinary associated diseases. Having emerged an estimated 700-million years ago, these bacteria have twice adapted to humans as a host species, causing sexually transmitted infection (C. trachomatis) and respiratory associated disease (C. pneumoniae). The principle mechanism of host cell defense against these intracellular bacteria is the induction of cell death via apoptosis. However, in the "arms race" of co-evolution, Chlamydiae have developed mechanisms to promote cell viability and inhibit cell death. Herein we examine the impact of Chlamydiae infection across multiple host species on transcription of anti-apoptotic genes. We found mostly distinct patterns of gene expression (Mcl1 and cIAPs) elicited by each pathogen-host pair indicating Chlamydiae infection across host species boundaries does not induce a universally shared host response. Understanding species specific host-pathogen interactions is paramount to deciphering how potential pathogens become emerging diseases.

Georg Stary, Andrew Olive, Aleksandar F. Radovic-Moreno, David Gondek, David Alvarez, Pamela A. Basto, Mario Perro, Vladimir D. Vrbanac, Andrew M. Tager, Jinjun Shi, Jeremy A. Yethon, Omid C. Farokhzad, Robert Langer, Michael N. Starnbach, Ulrich H. von Andrian. (2015). A mucosal vaccine against Chlamydia trachomatis generates two waves of protective memory T cells. Science (348) 6241. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa8205.


Genital Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) infection induces protective immunity that depends on interferon-γ–producing CD4 T cells. By contrast, we report that mucosal exposure to ultraviolet light (UV)–inactivated Ct (UV-Ct) generated regulatory T cells that exacerbated subsequent Ct infection. We show that mucosal immunization with UV-Ct complexed with charge-switching synthetic adjuvant particles (cSAPs) elicited long-lived protection in conventional and humanized mice. UV-Ct–cSAP targeted immunogenic uterine CD11b+CD103– dendritic cells (DCs), whereas UV-Ct accumulated in tolerogenic CD11b–CD103+ DCs. Regardless of vaccination route, UV-Ct–cSAP induced systemic memory T cells, but only mucosal vaccination induced effector T cells that rapidly seeded uterine mucosa with resident memory T cells (TRM cells). Optimal Ct clearance required both TRM seeding and subsequent infection-induced recruitment of circulating memory T cells. Thus, UV-Ct–cSAP vaccination generated two synergistic memory T cell subsets with distinct migratory properties.

Gondek DC, Olive AJ, Stary G, Starnbach MN. “CD4+ T Cells Are Necessary and Sufficient To Confer Protection against Chlamydia trachomatis Infection in the Murine Upper Genital Tract.” J Immunol. 2012 189:2441-2449; published ahead of print August 1, 2012, doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1103032   


Chlamydia trachomatis infection is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Chlamydia infections that ascend to the upper genital tract can persist, trigger inflammation, and result in serious sequelae such as infertility. However, mouse models in which the vaginal vault is inoculated with C. trachomatis do not recapitulate the course of human disease. These intravaginal infections of the mouse do not ascend efficiently to the upper genital tract, do not cause persistent infection, do not induce significant inflammation, and do not induce significant CD4(+) T cell infiltration. In this article, we describe a noninvasive transcervical infection model in which we bypass the cervix and directly inoculate C. trachomatis into the uterus. We show that direct C. trachomatis infection of the murine upper genital tract stimulates a robust Chlamydia-specific CD4(+) T cell response that is both necessary and sufficient to clear infection and provide protection against reinfection.