Jessica McCann, PhD

Rawls Lab Members

Headshot of Jessica McCann, PhDResearch Associate, Sr.
340 CARL
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919-949-3542
Fax: 919-684-2790


Research Interest: I am interested in how bacteria influence early life development of the immune system in animals and people. My love for host-microbe interactions began during an undergrad research semester at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, where I worked with Dr. Ned Ruby studying the squid symbiont Vibrio fischeri. I completed my masters with Dr. Ruby in Hawaii, and then moved to NC with my family to do my PhD with Dr. Miriam Braunstein at UNC Chapel Hill studying protein secretion in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. After a finishing a postdoc with Dr. Joe St. Geme and Dr. Patrick Seed examining the effect of early life exposure to bacteria on development of allergy and asthma, I am now a research associate in the Rawls lab. I work with Dr. Rawls and a group of scientists and clinicians at Duke and Northwestern University studying gut bacteria that may contribute to obesity in adolescents.
Personal Interests: When not in the lab, I am outdoors – gardening, swimming, boating, or hiking! I also love spending time with my family, reading fiction, and baking.

Publications List :
1. McCann JR*, Mason SN, Auten RL, St. Geme III JW, and Seed PC, 2016. Early life intranasal colonization with nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae exacerbates juvenile airways disease in mice. Infection and Immunity. 84: 2022. *Corresponding author. Profiled in the June 2016 issue of ASM Microbe magazine and the ASM mbiosphere blog (
2. Perkowski EF, Miller BK, McCann JR, Sullivan JT, Malik S, Allen IC, Godfrey V, Hayden JD, and Braunstein M, 2016. An orphaned Mce-associated membrane protein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a virulence factor that stabilizes Mce transporters. Molecular Microbiology. 100: 90.
3. Spahich NA, Kenjale R, McCann J, Meng G, Ohashi T, Erickson H, and St. Geme JW, 2014. Structural determinants of the interaction between the Haemophilus influenzae Hap autotransporter and fibronectin. Microbiology. 160: 1182.
4. McCann JR, Sheets AJ, Grass S, and St. Geme JW, 2014. The Haemophilus cryptic genospecies Cha adhesin has at least two variants that differ in host cell binding, bacterial aggregation, and biofilm formation properties. Journal of Bacteriology. 196: 1780.
5. McCann JR, Grass S, and St. Geme JW 2014. The HMW1C-like glycosyltransferases – an enzyme family with a sweet tooth for simple sugars. PLOS Pathogens. 10(4):e1003977.
6. Sullivan JTS, Young EF, McCann JR, and Braunstein M, 2012. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis SecA2 system subverts phagosome maturation to promote growth in macrophages. Infection and Immunity 80: 996.
7. McCann JR, McDonough JA, Sullivan JT, Feltcher ME and Braunstein M, 2011. Genome-wide identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis exported proteins with roles in intracellular growth. Journal of Bacteriology 193: 854.
8. McElvania-Tekippe E, Allen IC, Hulseberg PD, Sullivan JT, McCann JR, Sandor M, Braunstein M, and Ting JPY, 2010. Granuloma formation and host defense in chronic Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection requires PYCARD/ASC but not NLRP3 or Caspase-1. PloS One 5(8): e12320.
9. Rigel NW, Gibbons HS, McCann JR, McDonough JA, Kurtz S, and Braunstein M, 2009. The accessory SecA2 system of mycobacteria requires ATP binding and the canonical SecA1. Journal of Biological Chemistry 284: 9927.
10. McCann JR, Kurtz, S and Braunstein M. 2009. Secreted and Exported Proteins Important to Mycobacterium tuberculosis Pathogenesis. In Bacterial Protein Secretion Systems. Woolridge, K. ed. (Horizon Press).
11. McDonough JA*, McCann JR*, McElvania-Tekippe E, Silverman JS, Rigel NR and Braunstein M, 2008. Identification of functional Tat signal sequences in Mycobacterium tuberculosis proteins. Journal of Bacteriology, 190: 6428. *Co-first author.
12. Hou JM, D’Lima NG, Rigel NW, Gibbons HS, McCann JR, Braunstein M, Teschke CM, 2008. ATPase activity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis SecA1 and SecA2 proteins and its importance for SecA2 function in macrophages. Journal of Bacteriology 190: 4880.
13. McCann JR, McDonough JA, Pavelka MS and Braunstein M, 2007. Beta-lactamase can function as a reporter of bacterial protein export during Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection of host cells. Microbiology 153: 3350. Profiled in the February 2008 issue of the Society for General Microbiology quarterly magazine “Microbiology Today.”
14. Ruby EG, Urbanowski M, Campbell J, Dunn A, Faini M, Gonsalus R, Lostroh P, Lupp C, McCann J, et al. 2005. Complete genome sequence of Vibrio fischeri: a symbiotic bacterium with pathogenic congeners. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 102: 3004.
15. McCann J, Stabb EV, Millikan DS and Ruby EG, 2003. Population dynamics of Vibrio fischeri during infection of Euprymna scolopes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69: 5928.