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Rivera-Chavez Lab

​Our Research

My lab is interested in understanding how microbial toxins modulate host-microbe metabolism to promote pathogen transmission during infection. We use animal models of disease coupled with bacterial and host genetics to study the molecular mechanisms of toxin-mediated pathogen growth and transmission. We have previously discovered that cholera toxin produced by the human enteric pathogen Vibrio cholerae, modulates host-pathogen metabolism, and creates a novel nutrient niche in the gut that promotes the explosive growth of the pathogen during infection. However, the molecular mechanisms by which cholera toxin modulates host cell metabolism and pathogen growth are not fully understood. We are interested in continuing to investigate how cholera toxin-induced disease modulates intestinal metabolism to confer a fitness advantage to Vibrio cholerae during infection and how these processes enhance the transmission of the pathogen during outbreaks. We are also interested in learning whether other microbial toxins also modulate host-microbe metabolism and pathogen growth. Our research may shed light into the development of novel and cost-effective therapeutics for treating and preventing infectious diseases.

Fabian Rivera-Chavez

Meet the P.I.

Fabian Rivera-Chávez completed his B.S in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of California, Davis under the supervision of Prof. Andreas Bäumler. He went on to pursue postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Prof. John Mekalanos.

Select Publications


First authorship peer-reviewed research articles are identified by the (*) symbol
  • *Rivera-Chávez, F, Mekalanos, JJ, Cholera toxin promotes pathogen acquisition of host-derived nutrients. Nature. 2019. 572(7768):244-248. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1453-3
  • Byndloss MX, Olsan EE, Rivera-Chávez F, Tiffany CR, Cevallos SA, Lokken KL, Torres TP, Byndloss AJ, Faber F, Gao Y, Litvak Y, Lopez CA, Xu G, Tsolis RM, Revzin A, Lebrilla CB, Baumler AJ. Microbiota-activated PPAR-γ signaling inhibits dysbiotic Enterobacteriaceae expansion. Science. 2017 Aug 11; 357(6351):570-575.
  • Lopez CA, Miller BM, Rivera-Chávez F, Velazquez E, Byndloss MX, Chávez-Arroyo A, Lokken KL, Tsolis RM, Winter SE, Bäumler AJ. Virulence factors enhance Citrobacter rodentium expansion through aerobic respiration. Science. 2016 Sep 16;353(6305):1249-53.
  • *Rivera-Chávez F., Lopez CA, Zhang LF, García-Pastor L, Chávez-Arroyo A, Lokken KL, Tsolis RM, Winter SE, and Bäumler AJ, Energy Taxis toward Host-Derived Nitrate Supports a Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 1-Independent Mechanism of Invasion, mBio. 2016. 7(4):e00960-16. doi:10.1128/mBio.00960-16
  • *Rivera-Chávez F, Zhang L, Faber F, Lopez CA, Byndloss MX, Olsan E, Xu, G, Velazquez EM, Lebrilla, CB, Winter, SE, Bäumler AJ. Depletion of Butyrate-Producing Clostridia from the Gut Microbiota Drives an Aerobic Luminal Expansion of Salmonella. Cell Host & Microbe. 2016 Apr 13;19(4):443-54.
  • Lopez CA, Rivera-Chávez F, Byndloss MX, Bäumler AJ. The periplasmic nitrate reductase NapABC supports luminal growth of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium during colitis. Infect Immun. 2015 Sep;83(9):3470-8.
  • *Rivera-Chávez F, Winter SE, Lopez CA, Xavier MN, Winter MG, Nuccio SP, Russell JM, Laughlin RC, Lawhon SD, Sterzenbach T, Bevins CL, Tsolis RM, Harshey R, Adams LG, Bäumler AJ. Salmonella uses energy taxis to benefit from intestinal inflammation. PLoS Pathog. 2013;9(4):e1003267.
  • Lopez CA, Winter SE, Rivera-Chávez F, Xavier MN, Poon V, Nuccio SP, Tsolis RM, Bäumler AJ. Phage-mediated acquisition of a type III secreted effector protein boosts growth of Salmonella by nitrate respiration. mBio. 2012 Jun 12;3(3).


  • Olsan EE, Byndloss MX, Faber F, Rivera-Chávez F, Tsolis RM, Baumler AJ. Colonization resistance: The deconvolution of a complex trait. J Biol Chem. 2017 May 26; 292(21):8577-8581.
  • Rivera-Chávez F, Lopez CA, and Bäumler AJ. Oxygen as a driver of gut dysbiosis. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2017.
  • Byndloss MX, Rivera-Chávez F, Tsolis RM, Bäumler AJ. How bacterial pathogens use type III and type IV secretion systems to facilitate their transmission. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2016 Sep 9; 35:1-7.
  • Rivera-Chávez F, and Bäumler AJ. The Pyromaniac Inside You: Salmonella Metabolism in the Host Gut, Annual Review of Microbiology. 2015. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-micro-091014-104108