Paul J. Brett, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Paul Brett

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., Bacterial Pathogenesis, University of Calgary, Canada, 1998
  • B.Sc., Biochemistry, University of Victoria, Canada, 1993


  • 1999 - 2000, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Medical Microbiology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
  • 2000 - 2001, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
  • 2001 - 2003, Research Scientist and Project Leader, Quorex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Carlsbad, CA, USA
  • 2003 - 2008, Visiting Fellow, Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, Hamilton, MT, USA
  • 2008 - 2014, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Alabama, College of Medicine, Mobile, AL, USA
  • 2014 - 2017, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Alabama, College of Medicine, Mobile, AL, USA
  • 2017 - present, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Reno, NV, USA

Research Interests

Research in the Brett laboratory is focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms used by Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis) and Burkholderia mallei (glanders) to evade clearance by host defenses. In particular, we are interested in determining how the lipopolysaccharides and capsular polysaccharides expressed by these organisms contribute to this process. Our laboratory has over 20 years of experience working with these important bacterial pathogens and has gained significant expertise in areas relating to Burkholderia genetics, pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions, carbohydrate purification/characterization, glycoconjugate synthesis and the analysis of humoral/cellular immune responses. The main goal of our research is to identify correlates of antigen-induced immunity against B. pseudomallei and B. mallei and use this information to develop safe, affordable and effective melioidosis/glanders vaccines. Our laboratory is currently funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop and test i) melioidosis and glanders subunit vaccine candidates and ii) serological assays to rapidly diagnose active cases of melioidosis.


  • Phokrai, P., Karoonboonyanan, W., Thanapattarapairoj, N., Promkong, C., Dulsuk, A., Koosakulnirand, S., Canovali, S., Indrawattana, N., Jutrakul, Y., Wuthiekanun, V., Limmathurotsakul, D., Brett, P.J., Burtnick, M.N., Lertmemongkolchai, G. and Chantratita N. 2018. A Rapid Immunochromatography Test Based on Hcp1 is a Potential Point-of-Care Test for Serological Diagnosis of Melioidosis. J Clin Microbiol. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00346-18. Epub ahead of print.
  • Burtnick, M.N., Shaffer, T.L., Ross, B.N., Muruato, L.A., Sbrana, E., DeShazer, D., Torres, A.G. and Brett, P.J. 2017. Development of Subunit Vaccines that Provide High Level Protection and Sterilizing Immunity Against Acute Inhalational Melioidosis. Infect Immun. 86: e00724-17.
  • Tamigney Kenfack, M., Mazur, M., Nualnoi, T., Shaffer, T.L., Ngassimou, A., Blériot, Y., Marrot, J., Marchetti, R., Sintiprungrat, K., Chantratita, N., Silipo, A., Molinaro, A., AuCoin, D.P., Burtnick, M.N., Brett, P.J. and Gauthier, C. 2017. Deciphering Minimal Antigenic Epitopes Associated with Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei Lipopolysaccharide O-antigens. Nature Comm. 8:115.
  • Titball, R.W., Burtnick, M.N., Bancroft, G.J. and Brett, P. 2017. Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei vaccines: Are We Close to Clinical Trials? Vaccine. 35:5981-5989.
  • Marchetti, R., Dillon, M., Burtnick, M.N., Tamigney-Kenfack, M., Bleriot, Y., Lanzetta, R., Gauthier, C., Brett, P., AuCoin, D., Silipo, A. and Molinaro, A. 2015. Burkholderia pseudomallei Capsular Polysaccharide Recognition by a Monoclonal Antibody Reveals Key Details Toward a Biodefense Vaccine and Diagnostics Against Melioidosis. ACS Chem Biol.10:2295-302.
  • Scott, A.E., Burtnick, M.N., Stokes, M.G., Whelan, A.O., Williamson, E.D., Atkins, T.P., Prior, J.L. and Brett, P.J. 2014. Burkholderia pseudomallei capsular polysaccharide conjugates provide protection against acute melioidosis. Infect Immun. 82:3206-13.

Additional publications can be found on