Paul de Figueiredo, PhD


Paul de Figueiredo, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, and an investigator in the Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri, where he also has an appointment in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. Dr. de Figueiredo has broad experience and training in molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology and host-pathogen interactions, with specific expertise in functional genomics and pathogen intracellular trafficking.

During his doctoral training, Dr. de Figueiredo investigated the molecular mechanisms mediating membrane trafficking and lipid metabolism in mammalian cells. He expanded this research expertise as a postdoc at MIT, where he performed functional genomic experiments in a vertebrate model system (Zebrafish), and as a postdoc at the University of Washington, where he received training in microbiology.

His lab actively pursues research into host mechanisms that control intracellular parasitism by viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens, including Brucella melitensis, the causative agent of one of the world’s most prevalent zoonotic diseases, and Cryptococcus neoformans, the world’s deadliest fungal pathogen. He also has significant interest in using microbes to combat cancer and autoimmune disease in humans. Dr. de Figueiredo has led collaborative projects with engineers. This work has pioneered the development of high-throughput microsystem tools and technologies that illuminate novel biological processes, including mechanisms governing microbial physiology and host-pathogen interactions.

Academic Information

NextGen Precision Health Endowed Professor


240E Bond Life Sciences Center
Columbia, MO 65211
United States

P. 573-882-6828

Research Interests

  • Host mechanisms
  • Brucella melitensis
  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • Microbes

Areas of Expertise

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Functional Genomics
  • Pathogen intracellular trafficking

Education & Training


1986: BA Mathematics and Political Science - Rice University
1989: MA Religious Studies - Stanford University
1997: PhD Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology - Cornell University


1998 - 1999: Post-doctoral Fellowship, Vertebrate Genetics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2000 - 2005: American Cancer Society Post-doctoral Fellowship, Microbiology, University of Washington

Awards & Honors

  • 2010 Keynote Speaker, Academic Scholarship Recognition Ceremony, Texas A&M
  • 2007 Awardee, Ralph E. Powe New Investigator Award
  • 2007 Grantsmanship Award, Mexican American U.S. Latino Research Center, Texas A&M
  • 2006 Fellow, Sloan Minority PhD Program, Texas A&M University
  • 2006 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Minority Program Mentor, Texas A&M
  • 2006 Hispanic Leadership Program Mentor (Texas A&M)
  • 2006 Fellow, Mexican American U.S. Latino Research Center, Texas A&M University
  • 2006 Mentor, Pathways to the Doctorate Program, Texas A&M University

Society Memberships

  • 2019 Member, Society for Biological Engineers (SBE)
  • 2017 Member, American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
  • 2011 Member, American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  • 2011 Member, American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)
  • 2011 Member, American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • 2005 Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAS)


Selected Papers

  • Zhu B, Ouda R, de Figueiredo P, Kobayashi KS.
    ORF6, a repressor of the MHC class I pathway: new molecular target for SARS-CoV-2 drug discover?
    Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2023 Jul-Dec;27(8):639-644. Doi: 10.1080/1478222.2023.2248377. Epub 2023 Aug 30. PMD: 37602463.
  • Wang L, Peng HY, Kishore Das J, Kumar A, Ren Y, Ballard DJ, Xiong X, Yang W, Ren X, de Figueiredo P, Yang JM, Song J.
    NAC1 confines virus-specific memory formation of CD4+ T cells through the ROCK1-mediated pathway.
    J Med Virol. 2023 Jul;95(7):e28957. doi: 10.1002/jmv.28957. PMID: 37465969; PMCID: PMC10391642.
  • Plocica J, Guo F, Das JK, Kobayashi KS, Ficht TA, Alaniz RC, Song J, de Figueiredo P.
    Engineering live attenuated vaccines: Old dogs learning new tricks.
    J Transl Autoimmun. 2023 Mar 27;6:100198. doi: 10.1016/j.jtauto.2023.100198. PMID: 37090898; PMCID: PMC10113845.
  • Rebecca M. Legere, Angelica R. Allegro, Yvonne Affram, Bibiana Petri da Silveira, Jennifer L. Fridley, Kelsey M. Wells, Numan Oezguen, Robert C. Burghardt, Gus A. Wright, Jeroen Pollet, Angela I. Bordin, Paul de Figueiredo, Julian L. Leibowitz, Noah D. Cohen.
    Infection of equine bronchial epithelial cells with a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus.
    bioRxiv 2023.01.26.525770; doi:
  • Eslami M, Chen YP, Nicholson AC, Weston M, Bell M, McQuiston JR, Samuel J, van Schaik EJ, de Figueiredo P.
    Neural network-based integration of assays to assess pathogenic potential.
    Scientific Reports 13, 6021, 2023
  • Skariah S, Abdul-Majid S, Hay AG, Acharya A, Kano N, Al-Ishaq RK, de Figueiredo P, Han A, Guzman A, Dargham SR, Sameer S, Kim GE, Khan S, Pillai P, Sultan AA.
    Soil Properties Correlate with Microbial Community Structure in Qatari Arid Soils.
    Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Feb 27:e0346222. doi: 10.1128/spectrum. PMID: 36847511
  • Huang C, Guo F, Wang H, Olivares J, Dalton J, Belyanina O, Wattam A, Cucinell C, Dickerman A, Qin, QM, Han A, de Figueiredo P.
    An automated system for interrogating the evolution of microbial endosymbiosis.
    Lab Chip. 2023 Feb 14;23(4):671-683. doi: 10.1039/d2lc00602b. PMID: 36227118
  • Das JK, Guo F, Plocica J, Hunt C, Steinmeyer S, Kobayashi K, Jayaraman A, Ficht T, Alaniz R, de Figueiredo P*, Song J*
    A live metabolically engineered bacterium controls autoimmunity and inflammation by remodeling the pro- inflammatory microenvironment and augmenting regulatory T cell function.
    Gut Microbes, 2022 Jan-Dec;14(1):2143222. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2022.2143222. PMID: 36404471
  • Yang JM, Ren Y, Kumar A, Xiong X, Das JK, Peng HY, Wang L, Ren X, Zhang Y, Ji C, Cheng Y, Zhang L, Alaniz RC, de Figueiredo P, Fang D, Zhou H, Liu X, Wang J, Song J.
    NAC1 modulates autoimmunity by suppressing regulatory T cell-mediated tolerance.
    Sci Adv. 2022 Jul;8(26):eabo0183. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abo0183. Epub 2022 Jun 29. PMID: 35767626
  • Dai, Jing; Huang, Can; Zhang, Han; Samuel, Ryan, Li, Yuwen, Jayaraman, Arul, de Figueiredo, Paul, Han, Arum.
    A microfluidic dielectrophoretic method enables on-demand spatial arrangement of bacteria-encapsulated agarose gel microparticles.
    Analytical Chemistry, 2022 Sep 27;94(38):13197-13204. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.2c02724. PMID: 36108268
  • Willis JA, Cheburkanov V, Chen S, Soares JM, Kassab G, Blanco KC, Bagnato VS, de Figueiredo P, Yakovlev VV
    Breaking down antibiotic resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: combining antimicrobial photodynamic and antibiotic treatments.
    Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA. 2022 Sep 6;119(36):e2208378119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2208378119. Epub 2022 Aug 29.
  • Das JK, Kumar A, Ren Y, Peng H-Y, Xiong X, Alaniz RC, de Figueiredo P, Ren X, Liu X, Ryazonov AG, Yang J-M, Song S.
    Elongation Factor-2 Kinase is a Critical Determinant of the Fate and Antitumor Immunity of CD8+ T Cells.
    Science Advances. 2022 Feb 4;8(5):eabl9783. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abl9783. Epub 2022 Feb 2
  • Zhang, H, Huang C, Li Y, Gupte R, Samuel R, Dai J, Guzman A, Sabnis R, de Figueiredo P, Han A.
    FIDELITY: A Quality Control System for Droplet Microfluidics.
    Science Advances. 2022 Jul 8;8(27):eabc9108. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abc9108. Epub 2022 Jul 8
  • Yang J, Eslami M, Chen YP, Das M, Zhang D, Chen S, Roberts AJ, Weston M, Volkova A, Faghihi K, Moore RK, Alaniz RC, Wattam AR, Dickerman A, Cucinell C, Kendziorski J, Coburn S, Paterson H, Obanor O, Maples J, Servetas S, Dootz J, Qin QM, Samuel JE, Han A, van Schaik EJ, de Figueiredo P.
    Phenotype-Based Threat Assessment.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2022. PMID: 35363569
  • Wells KM, He K, Pandey A, Cabello A, Zhang D, Yang J, Gomez G, Liu Y, Chang H, Li X, Zhang H, Feng X, da Costa LF, Metz R, Johnson CD, Martin CL, Skrobarczyk J, Berghman LR, Patrick KL, Leibowitz J, Ficht A, Sze SH, Song J, Qian X, Qin QM, Ficht TA, de Figueiredo P.
    Brucella activates the host RIDD pathway to subvert BLOS1-directed immune defense.
    eLIFE. 2022. PMID: 35587649
  • Guo F, Das JK, Kobayashi KS, Qin QM, A Ficht T, Alaniz RC, Song J, Figueiredo P.
    Live attenuated bacterium limits cancer resistance to CAR-T therapy by remodeling the tumor microenvironment.
    J Immunother Cancer. 2022. PMID: 34987022
  • Yoo J-S, Sasaki M, Cho SX, Kasuga Y, Baohui Z, Ouda R, de Figueiredo P, Sawa H, Kobayashi, KS
    SARS-CoV-2 inhibits the MHC class I pathway by targeting the STAT1-IRF1-NLRC5 axis.
    Nature Communications. 2021. PMID: 34782627
  • Chen S, Zhang D, Roberts AJ, Lu HC, Cannon CL, Qin QM, de Figueiredo P.
    Host Protease Activity on Bacterial Pathogens Promotes Complement and Antibiotic-Directed Killing.
    Pathogens. 2021 Nov 18;10(11):1506. doi: 10.3390/pathogens10111506. PMID: 34832660
  • Yang J, Qin QM, Van Schaik E, Samuel JE, de Figueiredo P.
    Automated, High-Throughput Detection of Bacterial Adherence to Host Cells.
    J Vis Exp. 2021 Sep 17;(175). doi: 10.3791/62764. PMID: 34605819
  • Jeevarathinam AS, Guo F, Williams T, Smolen JA, Hyde JA, McShane MJ, de Figueiredo P, Alge DL.
    Enzyme functionalized microgels enable precise regulation of dissolved oxygen and anaerobe culture.
    Mater Today Bio. 2021 PMID: 33554105
  • Jiang Y, Zhang H, Wippold JA, Gupta J, Dai J, de Figueiredo P, Leibowitz JL, Han A
    Sub-second heat inactivation of coronavirus using a betacoronavirus model Biotechnol Bioeng. 2021. PMID: 33615450
  • Ouyang Y, Chen D, Fu Y, Shi W, Provin T, Han A, van Shaik E, Samuel JE, de Figueiredo P, Zhou J.
    Direct cell extraction from fresh and stored soil samples: impact on microbial viability and community compositions.
    Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2021. (155) 108178
  • Dadaneh SZ, de Figueiredo, P, Sze S-H, Zhou, M, and X. Qian.
    Bayesian Gamma-Negative Binomial Modeling of Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Data.
    BMC Genomics. 2020. PMID: 32900358
  • Elworth RAL, Diaz C, Yang J, de Figueiredo P, Ternus K, Treangen T.
    Synthetic DNA and biosecurity: Nuances of predicting pathogenicity and the impetus for novel computational approaches for screening oligonucleotides.
    PLoS Pathog. 2020 Aug 6;16(8):e1008649. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008649. PMID: 32760120
  • Qin QM, Pei J, Gomez G, Rice-Ficht A, Ficht TA and de Figueiredo P.
    A tractable Drosophila cell system enables rapid identification of Acinetobacter baumannii host factors.
    Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020. PMID: 32528902
  • Ding S, Pandey A, Feng X, Yang J, Fachini da Costa L, Mouneimne RB, Rice-Ficht A, Bell SL, Watson RO, Patrick KL, Qin Q-M, Ficht TA and de Figueiredo P.
    Interactions between fungal hyaluronic acid and host CD44 promotes internalization by recruiting host autophagy proteins to forming phagosomes.
    iScience 2020. PMID: 33718841
  • Costa LF, Cabello AL, Batista DFA, Chaki SP, de Figueiredo P, da Paixão TA, Rice-Ficht AC, Ficht TA, Santos RL
    The candidate vaccine strain Brucella ovis ∆abcBA is protective against Brucella melitensis infection in mice.
    Microbiol Immunol. 2020. PMID: 32965738
  • Wippold JA, Wang H, Tingling J, Leibowitz JL, de Figueiredo P*, Han A*.
    PRESCIENT: platform for the rapid evaluation of antibody success using integrated microfluidics enabled technology.
    Lab Chip 2020. PMID: 32196032
  • Haque M, Lei F, Xiong X, Ren Y, Kumar A, Das JK, Ren X, Fang D, de Figueiredo P, Yang JM, Song J.
    Stem Cell-Derived Viral Antigen-Specific T Cells Suppress HBV Replication through Production of IFN-γ and TNF-⍺.
    iScience. 2020 Jul 24;23(7):101333.
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