William A Petri


  • MD, University of Virginia
  • Residency, University Hospital of Cleveland
  • Clinical Fellowship, University of Virginia
  • PhD, University of Virginia

Primary Appointment

  • Professor and Division Chief, Medicine- Infectious Diseases and International Health


Research Interest(s)

Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of parasitic infection

Research Description

William A. Petri, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. studies enteric infections and their consequences in children of the developing world.

The scope of research includes molecular parasitology, host defense and Clostridium difficile in the lab at UVa, and in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan studies of infant vaccines and undernutrition.

Focusing on amebic colitis, his lab identified the Gal/GalNAc-binding lectin of the parasite Entamoeba histolytica that mediates contact-dependent killing of host cells. Cell biologic studies of adherence, apoptosis and endocytosis of human cells by the parasite are active areas of investigation. DNA transformation of the parasite was pioneered in the lab, and is used to study molecular pathogenesis.

Clinically, the group has developed FDA-approved antigen-detection tests that allow sensitive and specific diagnosis of amebiasis. Using these tests in a now 10 year study of 300 children in Bangladesh, acquired immunity to amebiasis was discovered and demonstrated to be associated with interferon gamma and mucosal IgA anti-lectin immune responses. A genetic polymorphism in the leptin receptor, which is a regulator of T cell development, influenced the development of immunity. We are pursuing these observations in a murine model of disease. We are also developing an amebiasis vaccine, and have just started an 8 country study of the role of enteric infections, microbiome and human genome on child malnutrition and oral vaccine failure.

Ten graduate students have received the PhD degree in the Microbiology Department working in the lab, and 16 postdoctoral fellows have also trained there. Currently there are five graduate students and seven postdoctoral fellows conducting research in the lab.

Selected Publications

  • Burgess S, Petri W. The Intestinal Bacterial Microbiome and E. histolytica Infection. Current tropical medicine reports. 2016;3 71-74. PMID: 27525214 | PMCID: PMC4967426
  • Burgess S, Saleh M, Cowardin C, Buonomo E, Noor Z, Watanabe K, Abhyankar M, Lajoie S, Wills-Karp M, Petri W. Role of Serum Amyloid A, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, and Bone Marrow Granulocyte-Monocyte Precursor Expansion in Segmented Filamentous Bacterium-Mediated Protection from Entamoeba histolytica. Infection and immunity. 2016;84(10): 2824-32. PMID: 27456830 | PMCID: PMC5038085
  • Cowardin C, Buonomo E, Saleh M, Wilson M, Burgess S, Kuehne S, Schwan C, Eichhoff A, Koch-Nolte F, Lyras D, Aktories K, Minton N, Petri W. The binary toxin CDT enhances Clostridium difficile virulence by suppressing protective colonic eosinophilia. Nature microbiology. 2016;1(8): 16108. PMID: 27573114 | PMCID: PMC5010011
  • Fleece M, Heptinstall J, Khan S, Kabir M, Herbein J, Haque R, Petri W. Evaluation of a Rapid Lateral Flow Point-of-Care Test for Detection of Cryptosporidium. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene. 2016;95(4): 840-841. PMID: 27573629 | PMCID: PMC5062784
  • Guerrant R, Leite A, Pinkerton R, Medeiros P, Cavalcante P, DeBoer M, Kosek M, Duggan C, Gewirtz A, Kagan J, Gauthier A, Swann J, Mayneris-Perxachs J, Bolick D, Maier E, Guedes M, Moore S, Petri W, Havt A, Lima I, Prata M, Michaleckyj J, Scharf R, Sturgeon C, Fasano A, Lima A. Biomarkers of Environmental Enteropathy, Inflammation, Stunting, and Impaired Growth in Children in Northeast Brazil. PloS one. 2016;11(9): e0158772. PMID: 27690129 | PMCID: PMC5045163
  • Hossain M, Haque R, Mondal D, Mahfuz M, Ahmed A, Islam M, Guerrant R, Petri W, Ahmed T. Undernutrition, Vitamin A and Iron Deficiency Are Associated with Impaired Intestinal Mucosal Permeability in Young Bangladeshi Children Assessed by Lactulose/Mannitol Test. PloS one. 2016;11(12): e0164447. PMID: 27906964 | PMCID: PMC5132308
  • Ramakrishnan G, Wright M, Alam M, Naylor C, Kabir M, Zerin A, Ferdous T, Pedersen K, Hennig B, Donowitz J, Wegmuller R, Haque R, Petri W, Herbein J, Gilchrist C. Rapid assessment of tetanus vaccine-induced immunity in Bangladesh and the Gambia. Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease. 2016. PMID: 27916543 | PMCID: PMC5292284
  • Steele S, Melchor S, Petri W. Tuft Cells: New Players in Colitis. Trends in molecular medicine. 2016;22(11): 921-924. PMID: 27717671 | PMCID: PMC5159242
  • Verkerke H, Sobuz S, Ma J, Petri S, Reichman D, Qadri F, Rahman M, Haque R, Petri W. Malnutrition Is Associated with Protection from Rotavirus Diarrhea: Evidence from a Longitudinal Birth Cohort Study in Bangladesh. Journal of clinical microbiology. 2016;54(10): 2568-74. PMID: 27510830 | PMCID: PMC5035411
  • Watanabe K, Petri W. Environmental Enteropathy: Elusive but Significant Subclinical Abnormalities in Developing Countries. EBioMedicine. 2016;10 25-32. PMID: 27495791 | PMCID: PMC5006727
  • Buonomo E, Petri W. The Bug Stops Here: Innate Lymphoid Cells in Clostridium difficile Infection. Cell host & microbe. 2015;18(1): 5-6. PMID: 26159713
  • Cowardin C, Kuehne S, Buonomo E, Marie C, Minton N, Petri W. Inflammasome activation contributes to interleukin-23 production in response to Clostridium difficile. mBio. 2015;6(1). PMID: 25626905 | PMCID: PMC4324312
  • Gilchrist C, Turner S, Riley M, Petri W, Hewlett E. Whole-genome sequencing in outbreak analysis. Clinical microbiology reviews. 2015;28(3): 541-63. PMID: 25876885 | PMCID: PMC4399107
  • Gilmartin A, Petri W. Exploring the role of environmental enteropathy in malnutrition, infant development and oral vaccine response. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. 2015;370(1671). PMID: 25964455 | PMCID: PMC4527388
  • Kirkpatrick B, Colgate E, Mychaleckyj J, Haque R, Dickson D, Carmolli M, Nayak U, Taniuchi M, Naylor C, Qadri F, Ma J, Alam M, Walsh M, Diehl S, Petri W. The "Performance of Rotavirus and Oral Polio Vaccines in Developing Countries" (PROVIDE) study: description of methods of an interventional study designed to explore complex biologic problems. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene. 2015;92(4): 744-51. PMID: 25711607 | PMCID: PMC4385767
  • Madan R, Petri W. Role of obesity and adipose tissue-derived cytokine leptin during Clostridium difficile infection. Anaerobe. 2015;34 182-6. PMID: 25638400 | PMCID: PMC4492854
  • Marie C, Verkerke H, Theodorescu D, Petri W. A whole-genome RNAi screen uncovers a novel role for human potassium channels in cell killing by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica. Scientific reports. 2015;5 13613. PMID: 26346926 | PMCID: PMC4561901
  • Petri W, Naylor C, Haque R. Environmental enteropathy and malnutrition: do we know enough to intervene? BMC medicine. 2015;12 187. PMID: 25604120 | PMCID: PMC4197320
  • Ramakrishnan G, Pedersen K, Guenette D, Sink J, Haque R, Petri W, Herbein J, Gilchrist C. Utility of recombinant fragment C for assessment of anti-tetanus antibodies in plasma. Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease. 2015. PMID: 25749462
  • Watanabe K, Petri W. Molecular biology research to benefit patients with Entamoeba histolytica infection. Molecular microbiology. 2015. PMID: 26173474
  • Ahmed T, Mahfuz M, Islam M, Mondal D, Hossain M, Ahmed A, Tofail F, Gaffar S, Haque R, Guerrant R, Petri W. The MAL-ED cohort study in Mirpur, Bangladesh. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2014;59 S280-6. PMID: 25305298
  • Burgess S, Buonomo E, Carey M, Cowardin C, Naylor C, Noor Z, Wills-Karp M, Petri W. Bone marrow dendritic cells from mice with an altered microbiota provide interleukin 17A-dependent protection against Entamoeba histolytica colitis. mBio. 2014;5(6): e01817. PMID: 25370489 | PMCID: PMC4222101
  • Checkley W, White A, Jaganath D, Arrowood M, Chalmers R, Chen X, Fayer R, Griffiths J, Guerrant R, Hedstrom L, Huston C, Kotloff K, Kang G, Mead J, Miller M, Petri W, Priest J, Roos D, Striepen B, Thompson R, Ward H, Van Voorhis W, Xiao L, Zhu G, Houpt E. A review of the global burden, novel diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccine targets for cryptosporidium. The Lancet. Infectious diseases. 2014;15(1): 85-94. PMID: 25278220 | PMCID: PMC4401121
  • Cowardin C, Petri W. Host recognition of Clostridium difficile and the innate immune response. Anaerobe. 2014;30 205-9. PMID: 25223264 | PMCID: PMC4258135
  • Donowitz J, Petri W. Pediatric small intestine bacterial overgrowth in low-income countries. Trends in molecular medicine. 2014;21(1): 6-15. PMID: 25486880
  • Gurley E, Salje H, Homaira N, Ram P, Haque R, Petri W, Bresee J, Moss W, Luby S, Breysse P, Azziz-Baumgartner E. Indoor exposure to particulate matter and age at first acute lower respiratory infection in a low-income urban community in bangladesh. American journal of epidemiology. 2014;179(8): 967-73. PMID: 24607596
  • Hsiao A, Ahmed A, Subramanian S, Griffin N, Drewry L, Petri W, Haque R, Ahmed T, Gordon J. Members of the human gut microbiota involved in recovery from Vibrio cholerae infection. Nature. 2014;515(7527): 423-6. PMID: 25231861
  • Jiang N, Tofail F, Moonah S, Scharf R, Taniuchi M, Ma J, Hamadani J, Gurley E, Houpt E, Azziz-Baumgartner E, Haque R, Petri W. Febrile illness and pro-inflammatory cytokines are associated with lower neurodevelopmental scores in Bangladeshi infants living in poverty. BMC pediatrics. 2014;14 50. PMID: 24548288 | PMCID: PMC3936797
  • Kosek M, Guerrant R, Kang G, Bhutta Z, Yori P, Gratz J, Gottlieb M, Lang D, Lee G, Haque R, Mason C, Ahmed T, Lima A, Petri W, Houpt E, Olortegui M, Seidman J, Mduma E, Samie A, Babji S. Assessment of environmental enteropathy in the MAL-ED cohort study: theoretical and analytic framework. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2014;59 S239-47. PMID: 25305293 | PMCID: PMC4204611
  • Linford A, Jiang N, Edwards T, Sherman N, Van Voorhis W, Stewart L, Myler P, Staker B, Petri W. Crystal structure and putative substrate identification for the Entamoeba histolytica low molecular weight tyrosine phosphatase. Molecular and biochemical parasitology. 2014. PMID: 24548880 | PMCID: PMC4022148
  • Liu J, Lurain K, Sobuz S, Begum S, Kumburu H, Gratz J, Kibiki G, Toney D, Gautam R, Bowen M, Petri W, Haque R, Houpt E. Molecular genotyping and quantitation assay for rotavirus surveillance. Journal of virological methods. 2014;213 157-163. PMID: 25526999
  • Marie C, Petri W. Regulation of virulence of Entamoeba histolytica. Annual review of microbiology. 2014;68 493-520. PMID: 25002094
  • Moonah S, Abhyankar M, Haque R, Petri W. The macrophage migration inhibitory factor homolog of Entamoeba histolytica binds to and immunomodulates host macrophages. Infection and immunity. 2014;82(9): 3523-30. PMID: 24818664 | PMCID: PMC4187827
  • Moss D, Priest J, Hamlin K, Derado G, Herbein J, Petri W, Lammie P. Longitudinal evaluation of enteric protozoa in haitian children by stool exam and multiplex serologic assay. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene. 2014;90(4): 653-60. PMID: 24591430
  • Naylor C, Burgess S, Madan R, Buonomo E, Razzaq K, Ralston K, Petri W. Leptin Receptor Mutation Results in Defective Neutrophil Recruitment to the Colon during Entamoeba histolytica Infection. mBio. 2014;5(6). PMID: 25516614 | PMCID: PMC4271549
  • Ralston K, Solga M, Mackey-Lawrence N, Bhattacharya A, Petri W. Trogocytosis by Entamoeba histolytica contributes to cell killing and tissue invasion. Nature. 2014. PMID: 24717428
  • Subramanian S, Huq S, Yatsunenko T, Haque R, Mahfuz M, Alam M, Benezra A, DeStefano J, Meier M, Muegge B, Barratt M, VanArendonk L, Zhang Q, Province M, Petri W, Ahmed T, Gordon J. Persistent gut microbiota immaturity in malnourished Bangladeshi children. Nature. 2014;510(7505): 417-21. PMID: 24896187 | PMCID: PMC4189846
  • Taniuchi M, Begum S, Uddin M, Platts-Mills J, Liu J, Kirkpatrick B, Chowdhury A, Jamil K, Haque R, Petri W, Houpt E. Kinetics of Poliovirus Shedding following Oral Vaccination as Measured by Quantitative Reverse Transcription-PCR versus Culture. Journal of clinical microbiology. 2014;53(1): 206-11. PMID: 25378579 | PMCID: PMC4290924
  • Verkerke H, Hanbury B, Siddique A, Samie A, Haque R, Herbein J, Petri W. Multi-site clinical evaluation of a rapid test for Entamoeba histolytica in stool. Journal of clinical microbiology. 2014. PMID: 25428152
  • Verkerke H, Naylor C, Zabeau L, Tavernier J, Petri W, Marie C. Kinetics of leptin binding to the Q223R leptin receptor. PloS one. 2014;9(4): e94843. PMID: 24743494 | PMCID: PMC3990580
  • Verkerke H, Sobuz S, Petri W. Molecular diagnosis of infectious diarrhea: focus on enteric protozoa. Expert review of molecular diagnostics. 2014;14(8): 935-46. PMID: 25139776
  • Barroso L, Abhyankar M, Noor Z, Read K, Pedersen K, White R, Fox C, Petri W, Lyerly D. Expression, purification, and evaluation of recombinant LecA as a candidate for an amebic colitis vaccine. Vaccine. 2013;32(10): 1218-24. PMID: 23827311 | PMCID: PMC3883878
  • Buonomo E, Madan R, Pramoonjago P, Li L, Okusa M, Petri W. Role of interleukin 23 signaling in Clostridium difficile colitis. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2013;208(6): 917-20. PMID: 23776194 | PMCID: PMC3749013
  • Haque R, Snider C, Liu Y, Ma J, Liu L, Nayak U, Mychaleckyj J, Korpe P, Mondal D, Kabir M, Alam M, Pallansch M, Oberste M, Weldon W, Kirkpatrick B, Petri W. Oral polio vaccine response in breast fed infants with malnutrition and diarrhea. Vaccine. 2013;32(4): 478-82. PMID: 24300591
  • Kato K, Takegawa Y, Ralston K, Gilchrist C, Hamano S, Petri W, Shinohara Y. Sialic acid-dependent attachment of mucins from three mouse strains to Entamoeba histolytica. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2013;436(2): 252-8. PMID: 23726913 | PMCID: PMC3734206
  • Mackey-Lawrence N, Guo X, Sturdevant D, Virtaneva K, Hernandez M, Houpt E, Sher A, Porcella S, Petri W. Effect of the leptin receptor Q223R polymorphism on the host transcriptome following infection with Entamoeba histolytica. Infection and immunity. 2013;81(5): 1460-70. PMID: 23429533 | PMCID: PMC3647980
  • Madan R, Guo X, Naylor C, Buonomo E, Mackay D, Noor Z, Concannon P, Scully K, Pramoonjago P, Kolling G, Warren C, Duggal P, Petri W. Role of leptin-mediated colonic inflammation in defense against Clostridium difficile colitis. Infection and immunity. 2013;82(1): 341-9. PMID: 24166957 | PMCID: PMC3911837
  • Marie C, Petri W. Amoebic dysentery. Clinical evidence. 2013;2013. PMID: 23991750 | PMCID: PMC3758071
  • Moonah S, Jiang N, Petri W. Host immune response to intestinal amebiasis. PLoS pathogens. 2013;9(8): e1003489. PMID: 23990778 | PMCID: PMC3749964
  • Peterson K, Buss J, Easley R, Yang Z, Korpe P, Niu F, Ma J, Olortegui M, Haque R, Kosek M, Petri W. REG1B as a predictor of childhood stunting in Bangladesh and Peru. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2013;97(5): 1129-33. PMID: 23553156 | PMCID: PMC3628379
  • Petri W, Haque R. Entamoeba histolytica brain abscess. Handbook of clinical neurology. 2013;114 147-52. PMID: 23829905
  • Ritter A, Petri W. New developments in chemotherapeutic options for Clostridium difficile colitis. Current opinion in infectious diseases. 2013;26(5): 461-70. PMID: 23982237
  • Taniuchi M, Sobuz S, Begum S, Platts-Mills J, Liu J, Yang Z, Wang X, Petri W, Haque R, Houpt E. Etiology of diarrhea in bangladeshi infants in the first year of life analyzed using molecular methods. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2013;208(11): 1794-802. PMID: 24041797 | PMCID: PMC3814844
  • Wazny K, Zipursky A, Black R, Curtis V, Duggan C, Guerrant R, Levine M, Petri W, Santosham M, Scharf R, Sherman P, Simpson E, Young M, Bhutta Z. Setting research priorities to reduce mortality and morbidity of childhood diarrhoeal disease in the next 15 years. PLoS medicine. 2013;10(5): e1001446. PMID: 23690756 | PMCID: PMC3653794