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Faculty Detail    
Campus Address BBRB 614 Zip 2170
Phone  205-934-0163
Other websites

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Primary  Pathology   Laboratory Medicine Professor
Secondary  Microbiology  Microbiology Professor
Center  Center for AIDS Research  Center for AIDS Research Professor
Center  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr Professor
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Professor
Center  Comprehensive Ctr for Healthy Aging  Comprehensive Ctr for Healthy Aging Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Program 
Biochemistry and Structural Biology 
Cellular and Molecular Biology Program 
Integrative Biomedical Sciences 
Medical Scientist Training Program 
Molecular and Cellular Pathology Program 
Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine 

Biographical Sketch 
Moon H. Nahm, Professor of Pathology, with secondary appointment in Microbiology, obtained both BA degree (in 1970) and MD degree (in 1974) from Washington University in St. Louis MO. In 1980, he completed both Laboratory Medicine residency training in Pathology Department and post-doctoral research training in Microbiology Department at Washington University in St. Louis MO. He was a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis and University of Rochester before he joined UAB. He is the director of the Clinical Immunology Laboratory for UAB hospitals. In his research laboratory, he studies immune responses to pneumococcal polysaccharide antigens, bacterial pathogenesis, diagnosis of bacterial infections, and vaccines against bacterial infections. In addition, his laboratory serves as the Bacterial Respiratory Pathogens Reference Laboratory for the National Institue of Health and the Pneumococcal Serology Reference Laboratory for the World Health Organization.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists  Active Member   
American Academy of Microbiology  Active Member   
American Association of Immunologists  Active Member   
American Society for Microbiology  Active Member   
Infectious Diseases Society of America  Active Member   

Research/Clinical Interest
Adaptive and Innate Immune Responses to Pneumococci and Pneumonia Vaccines
Pneumococci are Gram-positive bacteria that are responsible for several important diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis and ear infections. The most important virulence factor of pneumococci is their polysaccharide (PS) capsule. The main host defense against pneumococci is the production of anti-capsule antibodies. To study host-bacterial pathogen interactions and to improve pneumococcal vaccines, my laboratory studies the pneumococci's capsules and the hosts' anti-capsule antibodies. Pneumococci can evade host antibodies since they can produce many serologically distinct PS capsules (more than 90 serotypes). Out studies of diversity in pneumococcal PS capsules led us to discover new, previously unrecognized serotypes. One new serotype is 6C, which had previously been misclassified as serotype 6A. We have shown that 6C is chemically and genetically distinct from 6A, that its infection is not prevented by the currently available vaccine, and that its prevalence has been increasing worldwide. Based on our work on serotype 6C, we predicted and have discovered a new pneumococcal serotype 6D. These findings have had a great impact on pneumococcal vaccine developments and evaluations. Recent studies led us discover another new serotype, 11E. Serotype 11E is almost identical to serotype 11A, but 11E has inactive wcjE whereas 11A has a functional wcjE, a gene responsible for acetylating capsular PS. Our epidemiologic survey showed that 11E is rare among the isolates from the nasopharynx, but common among isolates from the blood. All isolates of serotype 11E are genetically distinct (i.e., have distinct wcjE inactivation patterns) and may have been derived from serotype 11A independently in each individual. These findings supports a hypothesis that innate immune factors present in the nasopharynx favors serotype 11A but innate immune factors in the blood favors serotype 11E. We are currently investigating this hypothesis. Our studies have also led us to develop various bio-technologies such as multiplexed assays for antibody function (MOPA) and automated serotyping of pneumococci (Multibead Assay). We are also investigating a new way to diagnose pneumococcal pneumonia based on the biochemical changes observed during pneumonia infections. These bio-technologies are of fundamental importance in developing pneumococcal vaccines and are widely used. Because of our development of these technologies and our expertise with pneumococcal antibodies, our laboratory is serving as the Reference Laboratory for both the NIH and the World Health Organization.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Calix JJ, Saad JS, Brady AM, Nahm MH. Structural characterization of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 9A capsule polysaccharide reveals the role of the glycosyl 6-O-acetyltransferase wcjE in serotype 9V capsule biosynthesis and immunogenicity. J Biol Chem. (In press 2012).   22367197 
Calix JJ, Dagan R, Pelton SI, Porat N, Nahm MH. Differential Occurrence of Streptococcus pneumoniae Serotype 11E Between Asymptomatic Carriage and Invasive Pneumococcal Disease Isolates Reflects a Unique Model of Pathogen Microevolution. Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Jan 19. [Epub ahead of print]   22267713 
Calix JJ, Oliver MB, Sherwood LK, Beall BW, Hollingshead SK, Nahm MH. Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 9A isolates contain diverse mutations to wcjE that result in variable expression of serotype 9V-specific epitope. J Infect Dis. 2011 Nov 15;204(10):1585-95. Epub 2011 Sep 9  21908730 
Yu J, Lin J, Kim KH, Benjamin WH Jr, Nahm MH. Development of an automated and multiplexed serotyping assay for Streptococcus pneumoniae. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 Nov;18(11):1900-7. Epub 2011 Sep 7.
Calix JJ, Nahm MH, Zartler ER. Elucidation of structural and antigenic properties of pneumococcal serotype 11A, 11B, 11C, and 11F polysaccharide capsules. J Bacteriol. 2011 Oct;193(19):5271-8. Epub 2011 Jul 29
Nahm MH, Lin J, Finkelstein JA, Pelton SI. Increase in the Prevalence of the Newly Discovered Pneumococcal Serotype 6C in the Nasopharynx after Introduction of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. J Infect Dis. 2009 Feb 1;199(3):320-325.   19099489 
Park IH, Moore MR, Treanor JJ, Pelton SI, Pilishvili T, Beall B, Shelly MA, Mahon BE, Nahm MH, the Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Team: Differential effects of pneumococcal vaccines against serotypes 6A and 6C. J Infect Dis. 2008; 198: 1818-1822  18983249  
Seo HS, Michalek SM, Nahm MH: Lipoteichoic acid is important in innate immune responses to gram-positive bacteria. Infect Immun. 2008;76(1):206-213.   17954723 
Park IH, Park S, Hollingshead SK, Nahm MH: Genetic basis for the new pneumococcal serotype 6C. Infect Immun 2007;75:4482-4489  17576753 
Park I, Pritchard DG, Cartee R, Brandao A, Brandileone MC, Nahm MH: Discovery of a new capsular serotype (6C) within serogroup 6 of Streptococcus pneumoniae. J Clin Microbiol. 2007.  17267625 
Burton RL, Nahm MH: Development and validation of a fourfold multiplexed opsonization assay (MOPA4) for pneumococcal antibodies. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2006 Sep;13(9); 1004-9.  16960111 
Weiser JN, Nahm MH, “Immunity to Extracellular Bacteria” In: Fundamental Immunology Sixth Edition, (Ed.): W. Paul, (Publ): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Press, Philadelphia. 2008, Chapter 38, pp. 1182-1203    

pneumococcus, capsule, innate immunity, pathogenesis, vaccines