Varsha Raghavan, PhD

PhD Molecular Biology, Washington University St. Louis, 2014

As a microbiology graduate student, I focused my research on signaling strategies that enable specific gut commensal bacteria to acquire nutrients in the challenging intestinal environment. I was able to demonstrate how bacterial catabolic rate can control transcription dynamics, and I went on to uncover a regulatory diversity that exists even among related gut bacteria.   

In the Littman lab, I am interested in understanding mechanisms that determine how the immune system recognizes a bacterium as a commensal (as opposed to pathogen) to facilitate a successful host-microbe partnership.



  1. Raghavan V and Groisman E.A.  Orphan and hybrid two-component system proteins in health and disease. Curr Op Microbiol 13, (226-231), 2010.

  2. Townsend GE 2nd, Raghavan V, Zwir I and Groisman E.A.  Intramolecular arrangement of sensor and regulator overcomes relaxed specificity in hybrid two-component systems. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 110, (E161-9), 2013.

  3. Raghavan V, Lowe EC, Townsend GE 2nd, Bolam DN and Groisman, E.A.  Tuning transcription of nutrient utilization genes to catabolic rate promotes growth in a gut bacterium.  Molec Microbiol Jul 11, 2014.

  4. Raghavan V, Groisman E.A.  Species-specific differences in the dynamic response of gut bacteria to a mammalian glycan.  J Bacteriol Feb 17, 2015.