Basic & Clinical Sciences

Assosciate Professor
Focus: Microbiology

Contact Information
(518) 694-7314

Speaker Request
Michelle A. Parent, Ph.D.


  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Infection & Immunity of Yersinia, Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake NY
  • Ph.D. in Microbiology/Immunology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst MA
  • M.S. in Clinical Microbiology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston RI


  • CLS327 Clinical Microbiology I
  • CLS329 Clinical Microbiology II
  • CLS400 Laboratory Management & Education


Project 1

Yersinia pestis, a facultative intracellular gram-negative bacillus, is the causative agent of plague.  Recent vaccine trials, using a Y.  pestis specific protein-subunit in nonhuman primates, resulted in the generation high antibody titers however, vaccination failed to protect against a lethal pneumonic infection.  Given that the current vaccine generates robust humoral immunity yet does not protect against pneumonic infection, we hypothesized that cell-mediated immunity is required in addition to humoral immunity for complete protection.  Toward that end, my lab is focusing on identifying and understanding those aspects of the immune response needed to survive a lethal pneumonic infection.  Using mouse models, different vaccination regimens and attenuated Y. pestis our goal is to understand the underlying mechanisms of a protective immune response directed against Y. pestis in order to produce a more efficacious vaccine. 

Project 2

Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a Gram-negative bacterium, is the leading cause of seafood-related bacterial gastroenteritis in the United States. Most commonly associated with the ingestion of raw oysters, this emerging pathogen can causes self-limiting gastrointestinal infection, wound infection and, in the immunocompromised host, significant systemic disease leading to death.  Though the frequency of raw oyster consumption is unknown, approximately 20% of the United States population (60 million) are at increased risk of infection due to immunocompromised conditions.  In addition, the CDC has recently reported a 39% increase in the number of culture confirmed Vibrio infections. There is a dearth of literature regarding the host response to infection, the genes required for organism survival within the host, and pathogen elimination. Our goal is to characterize the host response to infection that may allow it to evade the host innate responses and potentially contributing to pathogenesis by preventing rapid elimination from the infected host.


  • 2013, 16 & 17: Nominated, University of Delaware Award for Excellence in Teaching & Advising
  • 2011 & 2013: American Association of Immunologists, Early Career Faculty Award
  • 2007: American Society of Microbiology, Early Career Faculty Award


  • 2015-17: Program Director, Medical Diagnostics (MDD) & MDD Pre-Physician Assistant
                    Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark DE
  • 2014-15: Interim Chairperson, Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences
                   University of Delaware, Newark DE
  • 2013: Associate Professor with tenure, Department of Medical Laboratory Science
              College of Health Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark DE
  • 2007: Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences
              College of Health Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark DE


  • American Association of Immunologists
  • American Society of Microbiology
  • American Society of Clinical Laboratory Sciences


  1. Hai Liang, Kristen DeMeester, Cheng-Wen Hou, Michelle Parent, Jeffrey Caplan and Catherine Leimkuhler Grimes.  Metabolic labelling of the carbohydrate core in bacterial peptidoglycan and its applications. Nature Communications 2017 Apr 20;8:15015. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15015.
  2. Hickey AJ, Lin JS, Kummer LW, Szaba FM, Duso DK, Tighe M, Parent MA, Smiley ST Intranasal prophylaxis with CpG oligodeoxynucleotide can protect against Yersinia pestis infection. Infect Immun. 2013 Jun;81(6):2123-32
  3. Luo D, Lin JS, Parent MA, Mullarky-Kanevsky I, Szaba FM, Kummer LW, Duso DK, Tighe M, Hill J, Gruber A, Mackman N, Gailani D, Smiley ST. Fibrin facilitates both innate and T cell-mediated defense against Yersinia pestis. J Immunol. 2013 Apr 15;190(8):4149-61
  4. Stephanie Waters, Sanjana Luther, Torsten Joerger, E. Fidelma Boyd, and Michelle A. Parent. Murine macrophage inflammatory cytokine production and immune activation in response to Vibrio parahaemolyticus serovar O3:K6.  Microbiology & Immunology 2013 Apr;57(4):323-8.
  5. Gary P. Richards, Johnna P. Fay, Keyana A. Dickens, Michelle A. Parent, Douglas S. Soroka and E. Fidelma Boyd. Vibrio predatory bacteria as natural modulators of Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus oyster and seawater. Accepted Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2012 Oct;78(20):7455-66.
  6. Brian W. Whitaker, Michelle A. Parent, A. Boyd and E. Fidelma Boyd.  The Vibrio parahaemolyticus ToxRS Regulator Is Required for Stress Tolerance and Colonization in a Novel Orogastric Streptomycin-Induced Adult Murine Model. Infection and Immunity, 2012 May;80(5):1834-45. doi: 10.1128/IAI.06284-11
  7. Radhika Goenka, Michelle A. Parent, Philip H. Elzer ,and Cynthia L. Baldwin. B Cell–deficient Mice Display Markedly Enhanced Resistance to the Intracellular Bacterium Brucella abortus. Journal of Infectious Disease 2011 April 15;203(8):1136-46