Christopher Stach

Christopher Stach

Address: 3-401 BSB
Phone: (319) 335-7817
Email: christopher-stach@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Patrick M. Schlievert PhD

Undergraduate Institution: Illinois State University

Research Description

Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of serious infections in the United States. S. aureus is an opportunistic pathogen that colonizes human skin and mucosal surfaces and is carried by up to 40% of the human population at any given time. The ability of S. aureus to cause disease is mediated by an arsenal of cell-associated and secreted virulence factors. Superantigens (SAgs) are a family of secreted proteins that range in size from 19 to 30 kDa. These proteins play a specific role in disease, interacting directly with the immune system and the epithelium/endothelium during infection. SAgs function to crosslink TCR and MHCII, leading to the release of various cytokines and chemokines, ultimately leading to the development of disease. S. aureus is the most frequently identified organism in infective endocarditis with more than 30% of all cases being positive for the organism. My research focuses on the host-pathogen interactions involved in disease. Specifically, I study the role of superantigens in the development and progression of infective endocarditis.


Vu BG, Stach CS, Salgado-Pabón W, Diekema DJ, Gardner SE, Schlievert PM. “Superantigens of Staphylococcus aureus from Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcers.” The Journal of infectious diseases. 2014. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiu350. PubMed PMID: 24951827.

Stach CS, Herrera A, Schlievert PM. “Staphylococcal superantigens interact with multiple host receptors to cause serious diseases.” Immunologic research. 2014. doi: 10.1007/s12026-014-8539-7. PubMed PMID: 24838262.

Salgado-Pabón W, Herrera A, Vu BG, Stach CS, Merriman JA, Spaulding AR, Schlievert PM. “Staphylococcus aureus beta-toxin Production is Common in Strains with the beta-toxin Gene Inactivated by Bacteriophage.” The Journal of infectious diseases. 2014. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiu146. PubMed PMID: 24620023.

Spaulding AR, Salgado-Pabon W, Merriman JA, Stach CS, Ji Y, Gillman AN, Peterson ML, Schlievert PM. Vaccination Against Staphylococcus aureus Pneumonia. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2013. Epub 2013/12/21. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jit823. PubMed PMID: 24357631.

Salgado-Pabon W, Breshears L, Spaulding AR, Merriman JA, Stach CS, Horswill AR, Peterson ML, Schlievert PM. Superantigens are critical for Staphylococcus aureus Infective endocarditis, sepsis, and acute kidney injury. mBio. 2013;4(4). Epub 2013/08/22. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00494-13. PubMed PMID: 23963178; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3747586.