Manolito G. Torralba, PhD

Laboratory Director

Manolito Torralba studied biology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County where he earned his bachelor of science degree in biological sciences. He started his scientific career in clinical microbiology and expanded his research interests working as a research associate at the J. Craig Venter Institute. His contributions to JCVI include optimizing various approaches in extracting nucleic acids from unique environmental and clinical sample types. Several standardized protocols have resulted from this work and are used in various laboratories worldwide.

With encouragement from his mentor, Dr. Karen Nelson, along with his own interests in genomics research, he decided to pursue a doctoral degree at Catholic University while continuing his research at JCVI. He was awarded his doctorate from the Catholic University of America in December of 2019 upon the successful defense of his research with identifying novel virulence factors of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In addition to his work on MRSA, his broad range of research interests include genomics approaches to studying microbial ecology in unique and previously unexplored environments, host-pathogen interactions as associated with autoimmune disease, microbial influence on cancer development, and natural products and drug discovery.

Research Priorities

Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens
  • Identifying novel virulence factors in antibiotic resistant pathogens using genomics approaches
  • Long term goals include predicting mobility of gene elements that can spread resistance
Host Pathogen Interactions
  • Characterizing microbial shifts in the human microbiome as it is associated with health and disease
  • Using genomics approaches to identify variations in gene expression as associated with health or disease 
Microbial Ecology in Unique Environments
  • Characterizing the microbial populations in unique and previously unexplored environments
  • Identifying metabolic processes that allow microbial communities to survive in poor conditions

Publications

Gut Microbial Changes in Diabetic db/db Mice and Recovery of Microbial Diversity upon Pirfenidone Treatment.
Microorganisms. 2020-09-03; 8.9:
PMID: 32899353
Characterizing Microbial Signatures on Sculptures and Paintings of Similar Provenance.
Microbial ecology. 2020-05-21;
PMID: 32440698
Longitudinal Study of Oral Microbiome Variation in Twins.
Scientific reports. 2020-05-14; 10.1: 7954.
PMID: 32409670
Intestinal and hepatic microbiota changes associated with chronic ethanol administration in mice.
Gut microbes. 2020-05-03; 11.3: 265-275.
PMID: 30982395
Persistent Gut Microbial Dysbiosis in Children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) During Chemotherapy.
Microbial ecology. 2020-05-01; 79.4: 1034-1043.
PMID: 31754744
Gastro-intestinal and oral microbiome signatures associated with healthy aging.
GeroScience. 2019-12-01; 41.6: 907-921.
PMID: 31620923
Self-Assembled STrap for Global Proteomics and Salivary Biomarker Discovery.
Journal of proteome research. 2019-04-05; 18.4: 1907-1915.
PMID: 30848925
Co-occurrence of Anaerobes in Human Chronic Wounds.
Microbial ecology. 2019-04-01; 77.3: 808-820.
PMID: 30141127
Xylitol and sorbitol effects on the microbiome of saliva and plaque.
Journal of oral microbiology. 2019-01-01; 11.1: 1536181.
PMID: 30598728
Supragingival Plaque Microbiome Ecology and Functional Potential in the Context of Health and Disease.
mBio. 2018-11-27; 9.6:
PMID: 30482830
Relationships Between Gastrointestinal Parasite Infections and the Fecal Microbiome in Free-Ranging Western Lowland Gorillas.
Frontiers in microbiology. 2018-06-15; 9.1202.
PMID: 29963018
Spatial and Environmental Variation of the Human Hair Microbiota.
Scientific reports. 2018-06-13; 8.1: 9017.
PMID: 29899411
Microbial metagenome of urinary tract infection.
Scientific reports. 2018-03-12; 8.1: 4333.
PMID: 29531289
Bacterial Species Identified on the Skin of Bottlenose Dolphins Off Southern California via Next Generation Sequencing Techniques.
Microbial ecology. 2018-02-01; 75.2: 303-309.
PMID: 29080910
A Microbiomic Analysis in African Americans with Colonic Lesions Reveals Streptococcus sp.VT162 as a Marker of Neoplastic Transformation.
Genes. 2017-11-09; 8.11:
PMID: 29120399
Host Genetic Control of the Oral Microbiome in Health and Disease.
Cell host & microbe. 2017-09-13; 22.3: 269-278.e3.
PMID: 28910633
Type 1 Diabetes: Urinary Proteomics and Protein Network Analysis Support Perturbation of Lysosomal Function.
Theranostics. 2017-07-07; 7.10: 2704-2717.
PMID: 28819457
Effect of Macondo Prospect 252 Oil on Microbiota Associated with Pelagic Sargassum in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.
Microbial ecology. 2017-01-01; 73.1: 91-100.
PMID: 27815589
Gastrointestinal microbial populations can distinguish pediatric and adolescent Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at the time of disease diagnosis.
BMC genomics. 2016-08-15; 17.1: 635.
PMID: 27527070
Gut Microbiome of Coexisting BaAka Pygmies and Bantu Reflects Gradients of Traditional Subsistence Patterns.
Cell reports. 2016-03-08; 14.9: 2142-2153.
PMID: 26923597
Temporal variation selects for diet-microbe co-metabolic traits in the gut of Gorilla spp.
The ISME journal. 2016-02-01; 10.2: 514-26.
PMID: 26315972
Minimally Invasive Sampling Method Identifies Differences in Taxonomic Richness of Nasal Microbiomes in Young Infants Associated with Mode of Delivery.
Microbial ecology. 2016-01-01; 71.1: 233-42.
PMID: 26370110
Stool microbiota composition is associated with the prospective risk of Plasmodium falciparum infection.
BMC genomics. 2015-08-22; 16.631.
PMID: 26296559
Quantitative Differences in the Urinary Proteome of Siblings Discordant for Type 1 Diabetes Include Lysosomal Enzymes.
Journal of proteome research. 2015-08-07; 14.8: 3123-35.
PMID: 26143644
High-quality draft genome sequences of five anaerobic oral bacteria and description of Peptoanaerobacter stomatis gen. nov., sp. nov., a new member of the family Peptostreptococcaceae.
Standards in genomic sciences. 2015-07-18; 10.37.
PMID: 26221418
Gut microbiome composition and metabolomic profiles of wild western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) reflect host ecology.
Molecular ecology. 2015-05-01; 24.10: 2551-65.
PMID: 25846719
Supplementation of saturated long-chain fatty acids maintains intestinal eubiosis and reduces ethanol-induced liver injury in mice.
Gastroenterology. 2015-01-01; 148.1: 203-214.e16.
PMID: 25239591
Draft Genome Sequence of Enterococcus faecalis PC1.1, a Candidate Probiotic Strain Isolated from Human Feces.
Genome announcements. 2013-02-21; 1.1:
PMID: 23469340
Bacterial translocation and changes in the intestinal microbiome in mouse models of liver disease.
Journal of hepatology. 2012-06-01; 56.6: 1283-92.
PMID: 22326468
Enteric dysbiosis associated with a mouse model of alcoholic liver disease.
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.). 2011-01-01; 53.1: 96-105.
PMID: 21254165
Using DGGE profiling to develop a novel culture medium suitable for oral microbial communities.
Molecular oral microbiology. 2010-10-01; 25.5: 357-67.
PMID: 20883224
Antimicrobial resistance of the coral pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus and Caribbean sister phylotypes isolated from a diseased octocoral.
Microbial ecology. 2010-05-01; 59.4: 646-57.
PMID: 20309538

Research Priorities

Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens
  • Identifying novel virulence factors in antibiotic resistant pathogens using genomics approaches
  • Long term goals include predicting mobility of gene elements that can spread resistance
Host Pathogen Interactions
  • Characterizing microbial shifts in the human microbiome as it is associated with health and disease
  • Using genomics approaches to identify variations in gene expression as associated with health or disease 
Microbial Ecology in Unique Environments
  • Characterizing the microbial populations in unique and previously unexplored environments
  • Identifying metabolic processes that allow microbial communities to survive in poor conditions

Characterizing the Microbial Communities in Caribbean Environments

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Gut Microbiome Sysbiosis in Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) Patients

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Effect of Xylitol Consumption on the Oral Microbiome

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Leonardo da Vinci DNA Project

This project utilizes genomics approaches to confirm the identity of the remains purported to be that of Leonardo da Vinci as well as to characterize the microbial population on aging artwork.

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Relationship Between the Oral Microbiome and Caries Status of Young Twins

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Asymptomatic Bacteriuria: Microbiome and Metaproteome

We use genomics approaches to detect the presence of bacteria with known inflammatory responses in asymptomatic patients. 

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Seasonal Succession in the High Arctic

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Western Lowland Gorilla Microbiome

The gastrointestinal microbiota composition and function of free range wild Western Lowland Gorillas mirrors macro-ecological patterns.

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Howler Monkey Microbiome

Gastrointestinal microbial community composition and habitat structure in howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra).

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