William A. Petri


  • MD, 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Moonah S, Jiang N, Petri W. Host immune response to intestinal amebiasis. PLoS pathogens. 2013;9(8): e1003489. PMID: 23990778 | PMCID: PMC3749964
  • 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
  • Abhyankar M, Shrimal S, Gilchrist C, Bhattacharya A, Petri W. The Entamoeba histolytica serum-inducible transmembrane kinase EhTMKB1-9 is involved in intestinal amebiasis. International journal for parasitology, drugs and drug resistance. 2012;2 243-248. PMID: 23267432 | PMCID: PMC3528347
  • Ali I, Haque R, Alam F, Kabir M, Siddique A, Petri W. Evidence for a link between locus R-R sequence type and outcome of infection with Entamoeba histolytica. Clinical microbiology and infection : the official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 2012;18(7): E235-7. PMID: 22448930 | PMCID: PMC3377832
  • Ali I, Haque R, Siddique A, Kabir M, Sherman N, Gray S, Cangelosi G, Petri W. Proteomic analysis of the cyst stage of Entamoeba histolytica. PLoS neglected tropical diseases. 2012;6(5): e1643. PMID: 22590659 | PMCID: PMC3348168
  • Christy N, Buss S, Petri W. Common pathways for receptor-mediated ingestion of Escherichia coli and LDL cholesterol by Entamoeba histolytica regulated in part by transmembrane kinase 39. International journal for parasitology. 2012;42(4): 393-400. PMID: 22619755 | PMCID: PMC3449034
  • Christy N, Hencke J, Escueta-De Cadiz A, Nazib F, von Thien H, Yagita K, Ligaba S, Haque R, Nozaki T, Tannich E, Herbein J, Petri W. Multisite performance evaluation of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detection of Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Entamoeba histolytica antigens in human stool. Journal of clinical microbiology. 2012;50(5): 1762-3. PMID: 22378909 | PMCID: PMC3347128
  • Gilchrist C, Ali I, Kabir M, Alam F, Scherbakova S, Ferlanti E, Weedall G, Hall N, Haque R, Petri W, Caler E. A Multilocus Sequence Typing System (MLST) reveals a high level of diversity and a genetic component to Entamoeba histolytica virulence. BMC microbiology. 2012;12 151. PMID: 22839995 | PMCID: PMC3438053
  • Korpe P, Liu Y, Siddique A, Kabir M, Ralston K, Ma J, Haque R, Petri W. Breast Milk Parasite-Specific Antibodies and Protection From Amebiasis and Cryptosporidiosis in Bangladeshi Infants: A Prospective Cohort Study. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2012. PMID: 23243179 | PMCID: PMC3588117
  • Korpe P, Petri W. Environmental enteropathy: critical implications of a poorly understood condition. Trends in molecular medicine. 2012;18(6): 328-36. PMID: 22633998 | PMCID: PMC3372657
  • Korpe P, Stott B, Nazib F, Kabir M, Haque R, Herbein J, Petri W. Evaluation of a rapid point-of-care fecal antigen detection test for Entamoeba histolytica. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene. 2012;86(6): 980-1. PMID: 22665604 | PMCID: PMC3366543
  • Mackey-Lawrence N, Petri W. Leptin and mucosal immunity. Mucosal immunology. 2012;5(5): 472-9. PMID: 22692456 | PMCID: PMC3425733
  • Royer T, Gilchrist C, Kabir M, Arju T, Ralston K, Haque R, Clark C, Petri W. Entamoeba bangladeshi nov. sp., Bangladesh. Emerging infectious diseases. 2012;18(9): 1543-5. PMID: 22932710 | PMCID: PMC3437720
  • Shimokawa C, Kabir M, Taniuchi M, Mondal D, Kobayashi S, Ali I, Sobuz S, Senba M, Houpt E, Haque R, Petri W, Hamano S. Entamoeba moshkovskii is associated with diarrhea in infants and causes diarrhea and colitis in mice. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2012;206(5): 744-51. PMID: 22723640 | PMCID: PMC3491739
  • Verkerke H, Petri W, Marie C. The dynamic interdependence of amebiasis, innate immunity, and undernutrition. Seminars in immunopathology. 2012;34(6): 771-85. PMID: 23114864 | PMCID: PMC3510265
  • den Hartog J, Rosenbaum L, Wood Z, Burt D, Petri W. Diagnosis of multiple enteric protozoan infections by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in the guatemalan highlands. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene. 2012;88(1): 167-71. PMID: 23185076 | PMCID: PMC3541730
  • Duggal P, Guo X, Haque R, Peterson K, Ricklefs S, Mondal D, Alam F, Noor Z, Verkerke H, Marie C, Leduc C, Chua S, Myers M, Leibel R, Houpt E, Gilchrist C, Sher A, Porcella S, Petri W. A mutation in the leptin receptor is associated with Entamoeba histolytica infection in children. The Journal of clinical investigation. 2011;121(3): 1191-8. PMID: 21393862 | PMCID: PMC3049405
  • Peterson K, Guo X, Elkahloun A, Mondal D, Bardhan P, Sugawara A, Duggal P, Haque R, Petri W. The expression of REG 1A and REG 1B is increased during acute amebic colitis. Parasitology international. 2011;60(3): 296-300. PMID: 21586335 | PMCID: PMC3124591