Photo of Melissa J. Caimano, Ph.D.

Melissa J. Caimano, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Academic Office Location:
Medicine
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
MC3715
Farmington, CT 06030-3715
Phone: 860-679-8390
860-679-7312
Fax: 860-679-8130
Email: mcaima@uchc.edu
Website(s):

Spirochete Research Labs

Curriculum Vitae:

Melissa Caimano received a B.S. degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1989. She attended graduate school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham doing her thesis work on the genetic elements involved in Streptococcus pneumoniae capsule biosynthesis. In 1996, Caimano began a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Justin Radolf at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, relocating to the University of Connecticut in 1999. Her work has focused primarily on the regulatory pathways and molecular mechanisms underlying mammalian host adaptation and maintenance of Borrelia burgdorferi within its natural enzootic cycle. Most notably, these studies have led to the discovery that the alternate sigma factor RpoS plays a critical role in the down-regulation, as well as up-regulation, of borrelial genes specifically in response to mammalian host signals. She has published more than 46 peer-reviewed articles on microbial pathogenesis and related areas in high impact journals. Her work examining the interaction between the Lyme disease spirochete and its arthropod vector is supported by grants awarded to her by the National Research Fund for Tick-Borne Diseases (NRFTD) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH/NIAID). Caimano currently is an Assistant Professor in the UConn Health Center Department of Medicine and holds a secondary appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Molecular Biology and Biophysics.  She has served on the Editorial Board of Infection and Immunity since 2006.

Education
DegreeInstitutionMajor
Ph.D.University of Alabama at BirminghamMicrobiology
B.S.University of Rhode IslandMicrobiology

Post-Graduate Training
TrainingInstitutionSpecialty
PostdoctoralUT Southwestern Medical CenterPost-doctoral fellow
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
PLoS Neglected Tropical DiseasesEditorial BoardGuest EditorExternalInternational2015
Infection and ImmunityEditorial BoardAssociate EditorExternalInternational2006
ASMProfessional/Scientific OrganizationMemberExternalNational1993

Her work has focused primarily on the regulatory pathways and molecular mechanisms underlying mammalian host adaptation and maintenance of Borrelia burgdorferi within its natural enzootic cycle. Most notably, these studies have led to the discovery that the alternate sigma factor RpoS plays a critical role in the down-regulation, as well as up-regulation, of borrelial genes specifically in response to mammalian host signals. More recently, Dr. Caimano has identified a central role for the small nucleotide second messenger, c-di-GMP, for maintenance of B. burgdorferi in its arthropod vector. She has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles on microbial pathogenesis and related areas in high impact journals

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • The Prokaryotes: An Evolving Electronic Resource for the Microbiological Community
    Caimano MJ and Radolf JD. The Genus Borrelia. 2002 Jan;

Notes

Reviews

  • Borrelia burgdorferi gene expression profiling with membrane-based arrays.
    Ojaimi, Caroline; Brooks, Chad; Akins, Darrin; Casjens, Sherwood; Rosa, Patricia; Elias, Abdallah; Barbour, Alan; Jasinskas, Algis; Benach, Jorge; Katonah, Laura; Radolf, Justin; Caimano, Melissa; Skare, Jon; Swingle, Kristen; Sims, Simon; Schwartz, Ira Methods in enzymology 2002 Jan;358165-77
Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
Environmental sensing by Borrelia burgdorferi “Bringing the Outside -> In”OtherUmea University2015Umea, Sweden
Environmental sensing by the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferiTalkUConn Storrs2015Storrs, CT
Environmental sensing by Borrelia burgdorferi: How does the Lyme disease spirochete know whether it's coming or going?TalkGordon Research Conferences2014Ventura, CA
Cultivation of Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni within dialysis membrane chambers provides a model system for studying the transcriptional and physiological adaptation of pathogenic leptospires within the mammalian host.PosterGordon Research Conferences2014Ventura, CA
Role of Two-Component Systems for maintenance of the Lyme disease spirochetes in its enzootic cycle.TalkGeneral Microbiology2014Dublin, Ireland
Environmental sensing by Borrelia burgdorferi: How do Lyme disease spirochetes know if they are coming or going?TalkPasteur Institute2014Paris, France
Springtime for Lyme:Hk1/Rrp1-mediated environmental sensing by Borrelia burgdorferiTalkLinda Bockenstedt, Yale University2014New Haven
Maintenance of Borrelia burgdorferi within its Enzootic Cycle Requires Both Hk1/Rrp1 and RpoS Regulatory PathwaysTalkInternational Conference on Lyme Borreliosis2013Boston, MA