John Franklin Rawls, PhD

Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Associate Professor in Medicine
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Campus mail 323A CARL Building Box 3580, 213 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 613-7212
Email address john.rawls@duke.edu

Our research uses multiple complementary approaches to understand how host-microbe interactions in the intestine regulate digestive physiology and energy balance. First, my lab uses genetic, gnotobiotic, and in vivo imaging approaches to determine how commensal microorganisms (microbiota) interact with vertebrate hosts to regulate their nutrition and immunity, as well as the mechanisms underlying assembly of intestinal microbial communities. We utilize the zebrafish as a host model in which host and microbial cells can be viewed and manipulated a transparent living vertebrate. We have pioneered the use of germ-free or gnotobiotic zebrafish to investigate the roles of microorganisms in vertebrate biology, and we are using these methods to investigate the bacterial signals and responsive host pathways that regulate host immunity, nutrition, and gene expression. Second, my laboratory is utilizing the zebrafish system to investigate mechanisms underlying the formation and function of adipose tissues. We have developed methods for in vivo imaging of zebrafish adipose tissue, and we are currently using these techniques to explore the developmental and environmental processes regulating adipose tissue growth and physiology. In both of these fields, we have effectively used zebrafish and mice to model key aspects of human physiology and pathophysiology, and to gain new insights into underlying mechanisms.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Washington University, 2001
  • B.S., Emory University, 1996

Publications

Kelly, MS, Surette, MG, Smieja, M, Rossi, L, Luinstra, K, Steenhoff, AP, Goldfarb, DM, Pernica, JM, Arscott-Mills, T, Boiditswe, S, Mazhani, T, Rawls, JF, Cunningham, CK, Shah, SS, Feemster, KA, and Seed, PC. "Pneumococcal Colonization and the Nasopharyngeal Microbiota of Children in Botswana.(Accepted)" The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 37, no. 11 (November 2018): 1176-1183.

PMID
30153231
Full Text

Minchin, JEN, Scahill, CM, Staudt, N, Busch-Nentwich, EM, and Rawls, JF. "Deep phenotyping in zebrafish reveals genetic and diet-induced adiposity changes that may inform disease risk." Journal of Lipid Research 59, no. 8 (August 2018): 1536-1545.

PMID
29794036
Full Text

King, J, Foster, J, Davison, JM, Rawls, JF, and Breton, G. "Zebrafish Transcription Factor ORFeome for Gene Discovery and Regulatory Network Elucidation." Zebrafish 15, no. 2 (April 2018): 202-205.

PMID
29173090
Full Text

Williamson, IA, Arnold, JW, Samsa, LA, Gaynor, L, DiSalvo, M, Cocchiaro, JL, Carroll, I, Azcarate-Peril, MA, Rawls, JF, Allbritton, NL, and Magness, ST. "A High-Throughput Organoid Microinjection Platform to Study Gastrointestinal Microbiota and Luminal Physiology." Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology 6, no. 3 (January 2018): 301-319.

PMID
30123820
Full Text

Minchin, JEN, and Rawls, JF. "Elucidating the role of plexin D1 in body fat distribution and susceptibility to metabolic disease using a zebrafish model system." Adipocyte 6, no. 4 (October 2017): 277-283.

PMID
28792859
Full Text

Phelps, D, Brinkman, NE, Keely, SP, Anneken, EM, Catron, TR, Betancourt, D, Wood, CE, Espenschied, ST, Rawls, JF, and Tal, T. "Microbial colonization is required for normal neurobehavioral development in zebrafish." Scientific Reports 7, no. 1 (September 11, 2017): 11244-null.

PMID
28894128
Full Text

Kelly, MS, Surette, MG, Smieja, M, Pernica, JM, Rossi, L, Luinstra, K, Steenhoff, AP, Feemster, KA, Goldfarb, DM, Arscott-Mills, T, Boiditswe, S, Rulaganyang, I, Muthoga, C, Gaofiwe, L, Mazhani, T, Rawls, JF, Cunningham, CK, Shah, SS, and Seed, PC. "The Nasopharyngeal Microbiota of Children With Respiratory Infections in Botswana." The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 36, no. 9 (September 2017): e211-e218.

PMID
28399056
Full Text

Lickwar, CR, Camp, JG, Weiser, M, Cocchiaro, JL, Kingsley, DM, Furey, TS, Sheikh, SZ, and Rawls, JF. "Genomic dissection of conserved transcriptional regulation in intestinal epithelial cells." Plos Biology 15, no. 8 (August 29, 2017): e2002054-null.

PMID
28850571
Full Text

Davison, JM, Lickwar, CR, Song, L, Breton, G, Crawford, GE, and Rawls, JF. "Microbiota regulate intestinal epithelial gene expression by suppressing the transcription factor Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha." Genome research 27, no. 7 (July 2017): 1195-1206.

PMID
28385711
Full Text

Minchin, JEN, and Rawls, JF. "A classification system for zebrafish adipose tissues." Disease models & mechanisms 10, no. 6 (June 2017): 797-809.

PMID
28348140
Full Text

Pages