Wade Nichols

Associate Professor of Microbiology

Genetics of Microbial Pathogenesis

My research centers around the genetics of virulence determinants of the opportunistic human pathogens Haemophilus influenzae and Haemophilus parainfluenzae. These organisms are frequently found in the nasopharynx of healthy individuals without causing symptoms. However, at other times, Haemophilus species can cause otitis media, chronic bronchitis and even meningitis. My objectives are to identify genes essential for attachment to and infection of human epithelial cells by the bacteria and to examine the course and fine regulation of virulence in H. influenzae and H. parainfluenzae. In addition we use H. influenzae as a model to study the role of horizontal transfer in maintaining fitness during bottlenecks of populations.

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B.S. in Biology, Milligan College

Ph.D. in Genetics, The University of Iowa


Nichols, N.N., Szynkarek, M.P., Skory, C.D., Gorsich, S.W., Lopez, M.J., Guisado, G.M. and Nichols W.A. Transformation and electrophoretic karyotyping of Coniochaeta ligniaria NRRL30616. 2011. Current Genetics 57:167-175.

Pollard, A., St. Michael, F., Connor, L., Nichols, W. and Cox, A.   Structural charactacterization of Haemophilus parainfluenzae lipooligosaccharide and elucidation of its role in adherence using an outer core mutant.   2008.   Canadian Journal of Micriobiology 54 : 906-917.

Pollard, A.M., Scherbinske, S.E. and Nichols, W.A. The tonB gene of Haemophilus parainfluenzae demonstrates strong sequence identity to that of Haemophilus influenzae . 2007. Journal of Applied Research 7 (1): 32-38.

Jones, P.A., Samuels, N.M., Phillips, N.J., Munson, Jr., R.S., Bozue, J.A., Arseneau, J.A., Nichols, W.A., Zaleski, A., Gibson, B.W. and Apicella, M.A. (2002). Haemophilus inlfluenzae type b strain A2 has multiple sialyltransferases involved in lipooligosaccharide sialylation. Journal of Biological Chemistry 277:14598-14611.

Nichols, W.A. 2003. Cloning of PCR products with T-vectors. In Cassali, N. and Preston, A. (Eds) " E. coli Plasmid Vectors". pp 141-152.   Human Press, London.

Nichols, W.A. 2003. Screening recombinant DNA libraries. In Cassali, N. and Preston, A. (Eds) " E. coli Plasmid Vectors". pp 183-194. Human Press, London.

White, M.J. and Nichols, W.A. 2003. Cosmid packaging and infection of E.coli . In Cassali, N. and Preston, A. (Eds) " E. coli Plasmid Vectors". pp 67-74. Human Press, London.

Swords, W.E., Buscher, B.A., Ver Steeg II, K., Preston, A., Nichols, W.A., Weiser, J.N., Gibson, B.W., and Apicella, M.A. (2000). Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae adhere to and invade human bronchial epithelial cells via an interaction of lipooligosaccharide with PAF receptor. Molecular Microbiology 37:13-27.


Nichols, W.A., Gibson, B.W., Melaugh, W., Lee, N.-G., Sunshine, M. and Apicella, M.A. (1997). Identification of the ADP-L-glycero-D-manno-heptose-6-epimerase (rfaD) and heptosyltransferase II (rfaF) biosynthesis genes from nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae 2019. Infect. Immun. 65:1377-1386.


Nichols, W.A., Raetz, C.R.H., Clementz, T., Smith, A.L., Hanson, J.A., Ketterer, M.R., Sunshine, M. and Apicella, M. A. (1997). HtrB of Haemophilus influenzae: determination of biochemical activity and effects on virulence and lipooligosaccharide toxicity. Journal of Endotoxin Research 4:163-172.


Sunshine, M.G., Gibson, B.W., Engstrom, J.J., Nichols, W.A., Jones, B.D. and Apicella, M.A. (1997). Mutation of the htrB gene in a virulent Salmonella typhimurium strain by intergeneric transduction: strain construction and phenotypic characterization. J. Bacteriol 179:5521-5533.


Jones, B.D., Nichols, W.A., Gibson, B.W., Sunshine, M.G. and Apicella, M.A. (1997). Study of the role of the htrB gene in Salmonella typhimurium virulence. Infect. Immun.


DeMaria, T.F., Apicella, M.A., Nichols, W.A. and Leake, E.R. (1997). Evaluation of the virulence of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae lipooligosaccharide htrB and rfaD mutants in the chinchilla model of otitis media. Infect. Immun.


Current Grant support:

National Institutes of Health: NIAID


The Haemophilus influenzae genomic sequence database at TIGR

The American Society for Microbiology

National Center for Biotechnology Information

National Institutes of Health

Haemophilus influenzae

H_influenzae.jpg (68045 bytes)

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