Elizabeth Hughes

Elizabeth Hughes
Postdoctoral Associate

Contact Information:

Valdivia Lab

Research interests: I am passionate about host-microbe-microbe interactions. I love discovering the mechanisms by which gut microbes modulate host health and how the gut ecosystem is structured. I completed my PhD in Sebastian Winter’s lab at UT Southwestern Medical Center. During my PhD, I identified bacterial metabolic pathways that enable populations of Enterobacteriaceae, such as E. coli, to bloom during intestinal inflammation. As a postdoc in the Valdivia lab, I am studying Akkermansia muciniphila, a mucolytic gut commensal that seems to play a significant role in host health. Akkermansia has been shown to improve response to cancer immunotherapy, but the mechanisms driving this immunomodulation are incompletely understood. I am working to identify the mechanisms mediating Akkermansia‘s ability to promote anti-tumor responses during immune checkpoint blockade therapy. I am also studying strategies to control levels of Akkermansia colonization in the gut by leveraging intraspecies competition and phages.  


Personal interests:  I love spending time outdoors, whether it is playing disc golf with my husband, hiking with my dog, or grabbing drinks with friends. I also enjoy attending theater performances, playing board games, watching Star Trek, and reading for my book club.


Hughes ER, Winter MG, Alves da Silva L, Muramatsu MK, Jimenez AG, Gillis CC, Spiga L, Chanin RB, Santos RL, Zhu W, Winter SE. Reshaping of bacterial molecular hydrogen metabolism contributes to the outgrowth of commensal E. coli during gut inflammation. eLife. 2021 Jun 4;10:e58609. doi: 10.7554/eLife.58609. 

Hughes ER and Winter MG, Duerkop BA, Spiga L, Furtado de Carvalho T, Zhu W, Gillis CC, Büttner L, Smoot MP, Behrendt CL, Cherry S, Santos RL, Hooper LV, Winter SE. Microbial Respiration and Formate Oxidation as Metabolic Signatures of Inflammation-Associated Dysbiosis. Cell Host Microbe. 2017 Feb 8;21(2):208-219. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2017.01.005.

Chanin RB, Winter MG, Spiga L, Hughes ER, Zhu W, Taylor SJ, Arenales A, Gillis CC, Büttner L, Jimenez AG, Smoot MP, Santos RL, Winter SE. Epithelial-Derived Reactive Oxygen Species Enable AppBCX-Mediated Aerobic Respiration of Escherichia coli during Intestinal Inflammation. Cell Host Microbe. 2020 Dec 9;28(6):780-788.e5. doi: 0.1016/j.chom.2020.09.005.

Zhu W, Winter MG, Spiga L, Hughes ER, Chanin R, Mulgaonkar A, Pennington J, Maas M, Behrendt CL, Kim J, Sun X, Beiting DP, Hooper LV, Winter SE. Xenosiderophore Utilization Promotes Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron Resilience during Colitis. Cell Host Microbe. 2020 Mar 11;27(3):376-388.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2020.01.010.

Zhu W, Miyata N, Winter MG, Arenales A, Hughes ER, Spiga L, Kim J, Sifuentes-Dominguez L, Starokadomskyy P, Gopal P, Byndloss MX, Santos RL, Burstein E, Winter SE. Editing of the gut microbiota reduces carcinogenesis in mouse models of colitis-associated colorectal cancer. J Exp Med. 2019 Jul 29; doi: 10.1084/jem.20181939. 

Zhu W and Winter MG, Byndloss MX, Spiga L, Duerkop BA, Hughes ER, Büttner L, de Lima Romão E, Behrendt CL, Lopez CA, Sifuentes-Domingues L, Huff-Hardy K, Wilson RP, Gillis CC, Tükel Ç, Koh AY, Burstein E, Hooper LV, Bäumler AJ and Winter SE. Precision editing of the gut microbiota ameliorates colitis. Nature. 2018 Jan 03; doi: 10.1038/nature25172

Gillis CC, Hughes ER, Spiga L, Winter MG, Zhu W, Furtado de Carvalho T, Chanin RB, Behrendt CL, Hooper LV, Santos RL, Winter SE. Dysbiosis-associated change in host metabolism generates lactate to support Salmonella growth. Cell Host Microbe. 2017 Dec 15. pii: S1931-3128(17)30500-0. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2017.11.006.

Spiga L and Winter MG, Furtado de Carvalho T, Zhu W, Hughes ER, Gillis CC, Behrendt CL, Kim J, Chessa D, Andrews-Polymenis HL, Beiting DP, Santos RL, Hooper LV, Winter SE. An oxidative central metabolism enables Salmonella to utilize microbiota-derived succinate. Cell Host Microbe. 2017 Sep 13;22(3):291-301.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2017.07.018.

Hughes ER, Winter SE. Enterococcus faecalisE. coli‘s Siderophore-Inducing Sidekick. Cell Host Microbe. 2016 Oct 12;20(4):411-412. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2016.09.018.