Kathryn A Eaton, PhD, DVM
[email protected]

Available to mentor

Kathryn A Eaton, PhD, DVM
Professor Emeritus/a
  • About
  • Qualifications
  • Research Overview
  • Recent Publications
  • About

    Dr. Eaton is a board-certified veterinary pathologist (diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists) with research interests in bacterial pathogens of the gastrointestinal tract, host-pathogen interactions, and intestinal immunity.

    • PhD
      Ohio State University, Columbus, 1990
    • DVM
      Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, Grafton, 1984
    • BA
      Amherst College, Amherst, 1978
    Research Overview

    Dr. Easton laboratory has three main research directions:

    1/ Helicobacter pylori
    H. pylori is a bacterial pathogen of humans that causes gastritis, peptic ulcer, and gastric cancer. It is found naturally only in the human stomach, and is now thought to cause disease via induction of an exuberant mucosal immune response. Dr. Eaton has been studying H. pylori for more than 20 years and has used several animal models including germ-free piglets, gerbils, and mice to investigate a variety of bacterial colonization and virulence factors as well as aspects of host immune response. We currently use an adoptive transfer mouse model in which T cells from immunocompetent mice are adoptively transferred into H. pylori-infected immunodeficient mice. Non-transferred immunodeficient mice support large numbers of bacteria in their stomachs with no gastritis, adaptive immune response, or pathologic lesions. Mice that receive immunocompetent T cells, however, develop rapidly progressive severe gastritis. This model allows us to investigate separately the 1) direct effect of bacteria upon gastric epithelium in non-transferred mice, and 2) the effect of specific immune cells and cytokines in recipient mice. The current focus of the laboratory is the role of inflammatory cytokines to induction of the host immune response.

    2/ Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC)

    EHEC are Shiga-toxin producing pathogenic E. coli most often of the O157 serotype. They are food-borne pathogens of humans, and cause severe hemorrhagic colitis and sometimes hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening triad of acute renal failure, hemolysis, and thrombocytopenia. The Eaton laboratory uses a germ-free mouse model to study bacterial factors that promote renal disease and to examine the differential expression of bacterial genes in vivo.

    3/ Germ-free and gnotobiotic mice

    In addition to H. pylori and EHEC studies, Dr. Eaton has established a germ-free and gnotobiotic mouse facility at the University of Michigan. This multi-user facility derives, produces, and maintains several strains of germ-free and gnotobiotic mice for investigator use. Germ-free mice are completely free of exogenous bacterial, fungal, and viral microorganisms. They can be bred and maintained indefinitely in soft-sided bubble-type isolators, or for short periods in sterile microisolator cages in a laminar flow hood. These mice are ideal for the study of host pathogen interactions in a controlled environment, and for study of the roles of normal microbiota or their absence on host physiology and disease. Mice in our facility are currently used for the study of infectious diseases such as EHEC, Campylobacter jejuni, and Vibrio cholerae, and the role of enteric microbiota in gastric and colon cancer and host immune responses

    Recent Publications See All Publications
    • Journal Article
      Corrigendum to "A steamed broccoli sprout diet preparation that reduces colitis via the gut microbiota" [J Nutr Biochem 2023;112:109215].
      Zhang T, Holman J, McKinstry D, Trindade BC, Eaton KA, Castrejon JM, Ho S, Wells E, Yuan H, Wen B, Sun D, Chen GY, Li Y. J Nutr Biochem, 2023 Jul; 117: 109340 DOI:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2023.109340
      PMID: 37059606
    • Journal Article
      A steamed broccoli sprout diet preparation that reduces colitis via the gut microbiota.
      Zhang T, Holman J, McKinstry D, Trindade BC, Eaton KA, Mendoza-Castrejon J, Ho S, Wells E, Yuan H, Wen B, Sun D, Chen GY, Li Y. J Nutr Biochem, 2023 Feb; 112: 109215 DOI:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2022.109215
      PMID: 36370930
    • Journal Article
      A new framework for host-pathogen interaction research.
      Yu H, Li L, Huffman A, Beverley J, Hur J, Merrell E, Huang H-H, Wang Y, Liu Y, Ong E, Cheng L, Zeng T, Zhang J, Li P, Liu Z, Wang Z, Zhang X, Ye X, Handelman SK, Sexton J, Eaton K, Higgins G, Omenn GS, Athey B, Smith B, Chen L, He Y. Front Immunol, 2022 13: 1066733 DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2022.1066733
      PMID: 36591248
    • Journal Article
      Prototype endoscopic photoacoustic-ultrasound balloon catheter for characterizing intestinal obstruction.
      Zhu Y, Ni L, Hu G, Johnson LA, Eaton KA, Wang X, Higgins PDR, Xu G. Biomed Opt Express, 2022 Jun 1; 13 (6): 3355 - 3365. DOI:10.1364/BOE.456672
      PMID: 35781972
    • Journal Article
      Effect of ABT-263 on Intestinal Fibrosis in Human Myofibroblasts, Human Intestinal Organoids, and the Mouse Salmonella typhimurium Model.
      Johnson LA, Rodansky ES, Tran A, Collins SG, Eaton KA, Malamet B, Steiner CA, Huang S, Spence JR, Higgins PDR. Inflamm Bowel Dis, 2022 Feb 1; 28 (2): 161 - 175. DOI:10.1093/ibd/izab166
      PMID: 34302470
    • Journal Article
      Mcc1229, an Stx2a-Amplifying Microcin, Is Produced In Vivo and Requires CirA for Activity.
      Nawrocki EM, Hutchins LE, Eaton KA, Dudley EG. Infect Immun, 2022 Feb 17; 90 (2): e0058721 DOI:10.1128/IAI.00587-21
      PMID: 34871041
    • Journal Article
      Dendritic cell-derived TGF-β mediates the induction of mucosal regulatory T-cell response to Helicobacter infection essential for maintenance of immune tolerance in mice.
      Owyang SY, Zhang M, El-Zaatari M, Eaton KA, Bishu S, Hou G, Grasberger H, Kao JY. Helicobacter, 2020 Dec; 25 (6): e12763 DOI:10.1111/hel.12763
      PMID: 33025641
    • Journal Article
      The Intermucosal Connection between the Mouth and Gut in Commensal Pathobiont-Driven Colitis.
      Kitamoto S, Nagao-Kitamoto H, Jiao Y, Gillilland MG, Hayashi A, Imai J, Sugihara K, Miyoshi M, Brazil JC, Kuffa P, Hill BD, Rizvi SM, Wen F, Bishu S, Inohara N, Eaton KA, Nusrat A, Lei YL, Giannobile WV, Kamada N. Cell, 2020 Jul 23; 182 (2): 447 - 462.e14. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2020.05.048
      PMID: 32758418