Paul Sumby, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Paul Sumby

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., Molecular Microbiology, University of Nottingham, 2001
  • B.S., Genetics, University of Leicester, 1998


  • 2002-2003, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Microbiology, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA.
  • 2003-2004, Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Human Bacterial Pathogenesis, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, Hamilton, MT, USA.
  • 2004-2007, Postdoctoral Fellow, The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Houston, TX, USA.
  • 2007-2013, Assistant Member, Center for Molecular and Translational Human Infectious Diseases Research, The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Houston, TX, USA.
  • 2013, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, School of Medicine, University of Nevada, Reno, NV, USA.

Research Interests

Laboratory of Dr. Paul Sumby

Dr. Sumby's research is aimed towards advancing current knowledge of the global regulatory mechanisms controlling virulence gene expression in bacterial pathogens, and illuminating currently unknown mediators of pathogenesis. As a model organism, Dr. Sumby uses the human bacterial pathogen group A Streptococcus (GAS; Streptococcus pyogenes) which causes a broad spectrum of diseases including pharyngitis (a.k.a. strep throat), necrotizing fasciitis (a.k.a. the flesh-eating disease), and the post-infection sequel acute rheumatic fever. The ability of GAS to cause such a wide diversity of diseases is in part due to the coordinate expression of specific subsets of virulence factors in response to microenvironment-dependent stimuli. Through understanding of how GAS regulates virulence factor expression the Sumby laboratory aims to develop novel therapeutic and/or preventative regimes, via translational research approaches, that are based upon the manipulation of these regulatory pathways. Ongoing research projects in Dr. Sumby's laboratory include:

  1. Determination of the molecular mechanisms behind small regulatory RNA (sRNA) - mediated regulation of GAS virulence factor expression.
  2. Role of the CovR/S and RivR regulators in GAS virulence factor expression.
  3. Role of differential gene regulation in promoting GAS-serotype disease-phenotype associations.
  4. Novel GAS virulence factors: discovery, function, and importance.


  • molecular microbiology
  • virulence factors
  • regulation
  • pathogenesis
  • strain & serotype-specific variation
  • genome & RNA sequencing
  • animal models of infection.

collage of strep throat infection

Selected Publications

  • Cao, T.N., Liu, Z., Cao, T.H., Pflughoeft, K.J., Treviño, J., Danger, J.L., Beres, J.B., Musser, J.M., and Sumby, P. (2014). The natural disruption of two regulatory networks in M3 group A Streptococcus isolates contribute to the virulence factor profile of this hyper-virulent serotype. Infect Immun., In Press.
  • McClure, R., Balasubramanian, D., Sun, Y., Bobrovskyy, M., Sumby, P., Genco, C.A., Vanderpool, C.K., and Tjaden, B. (2013). Computational analysis of bacterial RNA-Seq data. Nucl Acids Res. 41:e140. PMC3737546.
  • Treviño,J., Liu, Z., Ramirez-Peña, E., and Sumby, P. (2013). RivR is a negative regulator of virulence factor expression in group A Streptococcus. Infect Immun. 81:364-72. PMC3536152.
  • Liu, Z., Treviño,J., Ramirez-Peña, E., and Sumby, P. (2012). The small regulatory RNA FasX controls pilus expression and adherence in the human bacterial pathogen group A Streptococcus. Mol Microbiol. 86:140-54. PMC3456998.
  • Ramirez-Peña, E., Treviño, J., Liu, Z., Perez, N. and Sumby, P. (2010). The group A Streptococcus small regulatory RNA FasX enhances streptokinase activity by increasing the stability of the ska mRNA transcript. Mol Microbiol. 78:1332-47. PMC3071709.