Jennifer Bomberger Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Bomberger completed her B.S. in Microbiology at Penn State in 2000, during which time she also completed a program in cooperative education that supported a year studying at the pharmaceutical company, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (now GlaxoSmithKline). Dr. Bomberger completed her doctoral work in Physiology at Michigan State University under the mentorship of Dr. William Spielman, studying the intracellular trafficking of a G-protein coupled receptor system in the kidney. Continuing with her interest in intracellular protein trafficking as a mechanism of regulating protein expression and function in epithelial tissues, particularly in a disease state, Dr. Bomberger completed her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce Stanton at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. The primary focus of her postdoctoral research was to examine the host-pathogen interactions of Pseudomonas aeruginosa with the airway epithelium in the disease, cystic fibrosis (CF). Initiated by the identification, in collaboration with Dr. George O'Toole at Dartmouth, of a novel P. aeruginosa virulence factor (Cif) that alters ion transporter trafficking in the airway epithelium, Dr. Bomberger uncovered the mechanism underlying a poorly characterized bacterial secretion system and identified a role for Cif in disrupting MHC class I antigen presentation pathway. Together, these observations inspired her current research program, examining polymicrobial interactions in the lung. Dr. Bomberger is a member of the faculty in the department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh as an Associate Professor, with a secondary appointment in Clinical and Translational Science. Her laboratory studies mechanisms for microbial pathogenesis and the interaction between bacterial and viral pathogens in the lung, particularly in the pathogenesis of Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Dr. Bomberger's laboratory studies mechanisms for virus-stimulated P. aeruginosa biofilm formation with the goal of identifying potentially therapies to disrupt and/or prevent the P. aeruginosa biofilm formation and chronic infections that lead to CF patients' disease progression. New interests also include studying the adaptation and transmission of P. aeruginosa between the upper and lower respiratory tracts of CF patients and how this process is impacted by viral exacerbations. Bacteria and viruses are exceptionally adept at exploiting host pathways to ensure their survival, and understanding this interplay is critical to combating diseases associated with microbial infection.