Douglas Heithoff, Ph.D.
Dr. Douglas Heithoff is a Project Scientist in the Mahan Laboratory at the Center for Nanomedicine and Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1999 from UCSB in the laboratory of Prof. Michael Mahan, studying the role of the DNA adenine methylase in bacterial virulence and developing a cross-protective vaccine against Salmonella. Dr. Heithoff began a joint appointment in the Marth and Mahan laboratories in 2015 to study the role of the hepatocyte Ashwell-Morell receptor (AMR) in the modulation of sepsis caused by bacterial pathogens with an emphasis on the identification of host mechanisms that modulate coagulopathy and inflammation. His recent discoveries include the identification of marked differences in the roles of the AMR in sepsis caused by the Gram-positive pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae versus the Gram-negative pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, suggesting that sepsis is not a single disease process but may be stratified by host responses to different pathogens. In 2019, Dr. Heithoff returned to the Mahan Lab to study the host response to hypervirulence in Salmonella during the onset and progression of sepsis and to develop accurate antibiotic susceptibility diagnostics in fluids from sepsis patients.