Research in the Krementsov laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of immune-mediated or infectious diseases. One of our principal interests is the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common neurologic disorder affecting young adults, which occurs when the immune system aberrantly initiates an attack against the central nervous system.
The etiology of chronic autoimmune diseases, such as MS, is complex and multifactorial, dictated by genetic and environmental risk factors. The mechanisms and interplay of these risk factors are difficult to determine in human studies. Research in the Krementsov lab applies unique mouse genetics approaches together with immunologic and cell and molecular techniques and genomic approaches to assess the role of genes and environment in MS and other immune-mediated diseases. A major current focus is unraveling the complex interactions between host genetics and the gut microbiome, as a novel putative risk factor for many chronic diseases. Another major focus is the identification of a genetic basis for inter-individual heterogeneity in disease progression in MS.
MS is three times more prevalent in women, but more severe in men, and our research is also aimed at understanding why and how MS affects women and men differently. This line of investigation has uncovered a druggable molecular pathway in macrophages and microglia, which is regulated by estrogen.
Other interests in the lab include genetics of host-pathogen interactions, especially viruses, with a recent focus on chronic gammaherpesvirus infection as a major risk factor for MS. We are also interested in how long non-coding RNAs may regulate acute inflammatory responses in systemic infection or sepsis.
Dimitry N. Krementsov, Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical and Health Sciences
Dimitry was initially trained as a molecular biologist, later picking up virology, immunology, and a bit of genetics along the way. He believes that biology makes the most sense when viewed through the lens of evolution (Dobzhansky, 1973). In addition to research, Dimitry is passionate about teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Learn more >>
Postdocs and Fellows
Theresa Montgomery, Ph.D., CMB program, firstname.lastname@example.org
Theresa got her B.S. from UVM and spent several years afterwards there as a technician working on viral immunology, before joining the UVM CMB Ph.D. program, which she completed in 2022. She currently works on host-microbiome interactions in autoimmune disease, and is particularly skilled in isolation and anaerobic culture of gut bacteria. Lately she has been working on adding bioinformatics to her already impressive technical arsenal.
"Bristy" Sabikunnahar, Ph.D., CMB program, email@example.com
Bristy got her B.S. and M.S. from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, prior to moving across the world to pursue her Ph.D. studies in Vermont, which she completed in 2023. Bristy is exploring the role of a novel lncRNA in myeloid cell function and systemic inflammation. She is highly valued in the lab because of her collaborative spirit and supreme cooking ability, including a highly sought-after chicken biryani.
Tia Brodeur, M.D. Ph.D., Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Fellow
Tia got her M.D. Ph.D. degree in Immunology working with Anne Marshak-Rothstein at UMass Medical, where the studied T cell responses in lung fibrosis and systemic autoimmunity. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and returned to her basic immunology roots at UVM, studying endocrine regulation of immune cell responses in the ovary as part of her REI fellowship. Tia will be off to start her own lab at University at Indiana inthe Fall of 2023 - visit her lab website!
Katherine Sessions, M.S., Laboratory Research Technician Senior, firstname.lastname@example.org
Katherine holds a Master of Science degree in Biology from Regina University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the Krementsov lab, she held research positions at Dartmouth University and at the VA. Her primary focus in the Krementsov lab is applying the Collaborative Cross mouse model to study genetics of disease progression in MS.
Tyler Hogan, B.S., Laboratory Research Technician Senior, email@example.com
A native Vermonter, Tyler got his bachelor’s degree in microbiology from UVM, where he has subsequently continued his research career, first in the Deming Lab, followed by the Amiel lab, and now the Krementsov lab, where he is an expert on all things protein expression and biochemistry-related. Tyler will continue his academic career as a Ph.D. student in the CMB graduate program at UVM starting in the Fall of 2023.
Emily Holt, B.S., CMB program, Emily.A.Holt@uvm.edu
UVM graduate, Emily is currently working on modeling genetic heterogeneity in MS using Collaborative Cross mice, as well as identifying genetic interactions with gammaherpes virus infection as a risk factor for MS.
Dan Peipert, B.S., NGP program, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan received his B.S. in neuroscience from UVM. He then worked as a research assistant at Dartmouth studying environmental risk factors for ALS. Upon returning to UVM for his PhD, he joined the Krementsov lab, where he is investigating the role of the specific gut commensal microbes in mouse models of MS, including Akkermansia muciniphila.
Courtney Waytashek, B.S., CMB Program, email@example.com
Courtney got her B.S. in Biology from Gonzaga University, after which she worked as a research assistant at Oregon Health & Science University, where she researched anti-lentiviral therapeutic approaches in the simian immunodeficiency virus model. In the Krementsov lab, Courtney works on identifying host genetic and immunologic factors regulating control of gammaherpesvirus replication.
Eamonn Heney, Biology
Eamonn is studying the role of the commensal gut bacteria in models of multiple sclerosis.
Katarina Lile, Microbiology, Class of 2025
Katarina is working on gut commensal bacteria and how they modulate the immune system. She has developed several new assays in use in the lab.
Former Lab Members
Karrie Lahue, Senior Laboratory Technician and "lab mom," 2017-2022
Current position: Biosafety coordinator, University of Vermont
Sydney Caldwell, B.S. Molecular Genetics, 2022
Current position: Laboratory technician, Harvard Medical School
Benjamin Liebman, Laboratory Technician, 2021-2022
Current position: Laboratory technician, University of Vermont Spees Lab
Stella Varnum, B.S. in Biochemistry, 2021
Current position: Ph.D. program in Immunology, Washington University in St. Louis
Lorrie Blais, M.S. in MLS, 2021
Current position: Vermont Department of Health Labs
Mahalia McGill, laboratory technician, 2015-2021
Current position: Field application specialist, Biotek/Agilent
Josie Kennedy, undergraduate researcher, MLS 2020
Current position: Medical laboratory scientist, MGH
Grace Voorhees, M.S. in Pharmacology student, 2019
Current position: Senior research associate at Cygnal Therapeutics
Alexei (Coop) Cooper, Laboratory Technician, 2017-2018.
Current position: Ph.D. program in MCB at UConn
Ph.D. student positions – rotations may be available for students enrolled in the CMB and NGP graduate programs. Contact Dimitry for more info.
Undergraduate research opportunities – positions may be available for self-motivated hard-working undergraduates with relevant experience. Preference is given to those in their first 1-2 years of study – training in our lab takes a long time! Contact Dimitry for more info.
April 2023 – a warm welcome to our newest team member – Courtney Waytashek, a Ph.D. student in the CMB program!
March 2023 – congrats to Bristy, on her successful Ph.D. defense! She is the second Ph.D. from our lab! Nice timing with the publication of her masterpiece manuscript in JI, also featured in JI’s top reads!
February 2023 – Emily and Theresa meet Dimitry in San Diego for the ACTRIMS conference. Theresa was awarded a travel grant and Emily’s talk was nominated for best presentation by a young investigator!
January – June 2023 – Dimitry leaves Vermont’s winter behind to spend a 6 month sabbatical working with Rob Knight’s lab at UC San Diego, learning more about microbiome analysis and bioinformatics pipelines, and exploring the great outdoors in California in his spare time.
July – October 2022 – Sad goodbye to Karrie Lahue who accepted a new administrative position at UVM biosafety, and a warm welcome to two new technicians: Tyler Hogan and Katherine Sessions!
September 2022 – it’s official – we have a new R01 grant from NIAID to use the Collaborative Cross mouse model to study genetics of disease course heterogeneity in MS! Special thanks to Emily Holt and Karrie Lahue for their ideas and efforts on this project.
August 2022 – congratulations to Dr. Montgomery on her successful PhD defense! The first, but certainly not the last PhD from our lab! Theresa’s 3rd first author paper from our lab followed shortly…
May 2022 – Emily, Theresa, and Dimitry represent UVM by presenting their work at the Annual AAI meeting in Portland.
May 2022 – welcome to the newest ex officio DK lab member, baby Amaya! Congratulations to proud parents Bristy and Somen!
May 2022 – congratulations to Sydney Caldwell for not only successfully defending her DUR Honors Thesis, but also receiving the Outstanding Senior in Molecular Genetics Award! We are sad to see you go!
August 2021 – welcome to the newest DK lab members, Dan Peipert, Benjamin Liebman, and Eamonn Heney! Sad goodbyes to Mahalia, Lorrie, and Stella!
July 2021 – Big congrats to Theresa - her F31 fellowship from NINDS is now officially funded!
July 2021 – Lorrie’s (unofficially systematic, and certainly comprehensive) review is now published in Gut Microbes. A labor of love!
June 2021 – Our report on unintentional contamination of lab personnel by SARS-CoV-2 DNA plasmids causing false positive RT-PCR surveillance is now published in J Clin Micro. Special thanks to Drs. Jess Crothers and Michelle Paavola for their efforts on this.
November 2020 – Several lay press features are published highlighting Theresa’s microbiome paper. Here is one.
November 2020 – 2 papers published: Karrie and Montana’s paper on genetics of IBD in Genes and Immunity, and Theresa’s paper on microbiome in a mouse model of MS, in PNAS!
May 2020 - Welcome to our newest PhD candidate, Emily Holt!
March-May 2020 – During the COVID-19 University shutdown, Karrie, Mahalia, Theresa, and Bristy stay on the frontline to keep essential activities in the lab running!
March 2020 – Mahalia and Bristy’s paper published in Journal of Neuroimmunology.
December 2019 – Theresa invited to participate in the ACTRIMS Young Scientist Summit to be held January 2020 in Austin, Texas.
Fall 2019 – The NIAID and National MS Society co-fund our new approach to mapping the genetic basis of MS disease course heterogeneity using a new systems genetics approach – the Collaborative Cross.
August 2019 – Theresa appointed to the VCIID T32 training grant.
June 2019 – M.S. candidate Grace Voorhees successfully defends her Masters Thesis, making her the first DK lab graduate!
May 2019 – four members of the lab present at the 2019 American Association of Immunologists Annual Meeting in San Diego. Theresa selected for oral presentation and trainee abstract award.
May 2018 – welcome to two new PhD candidates: Bristy Sabikunnahar and Theresa Montgomery!
December 2017 – Krementsov lab finally moves into their newly renovated space in Rowell!
August 2017 – Dimitry begins his new appointment in the department of Biomedical and Health Sciences.
Selected Recent Publications
Sabikunnahar B, Caldwell S, Varnum S, Hogan T, Cooper A, Lahue KG, Bivona JJ, Cousens PM, Symeonides M, Ballif BA, Poynter ME, Krementsov DN. Long Noncoding RNA U90926 Is Induced in Activated Macrophages, Is Protective in Endotoxic Shock, and Encodes a Novel Secreted Protein. J Immunol. 2023 Jan 27:ji2200215. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2200215. PMID: 36705532.
Montgomery TL, Eckstrom K, Lile KH, Caldwell S, Heney ER, Lahue KG, D'Alessandro A, Wargo MJ, Krementsov DN. Lactobacillus reuteri tryptophan metabolism promotes host susceptibility to CNS autoimmunity. Microbiome. 2022 Nov 23;10(1):198. doi: 10.1186/s40168-022-01408-7. PubMed PMID: 36419205.
Sabikunnahar B, Lahue KG, Asarian L, Fang Q, McGill MM, Haynes L, Teuscher C, Krementsov DN. Sex differences in susceptibility to influenza A virus infection depend on host genotype. PLoS One. 2022;17(9):e0273050. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273050. eCollection 2022. PubMed PMID: 36112601.
Snyder, J. P., S. K. Gullickson, R. del Rio-Guerra, A. Sweezy, B. Vagher, T. C. Hogan, K. G. Lahue, J. A. Reisz, A. D’Alessandro, D. N. Krementsov*, and E. Amiel*. 2022. Divergent genetic regulation of nitric oxide production between C57BL/6J and wild-derived PWD/PhJ mice controls postactivation mitochondrial metabolism, cell survival, and bacterial resistance in dendritic cells. J Immunol. 2022 Jan 1;208(1):97-109. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2100375. PubMed PMID: 34872978
McGill MM, Richman A, Boyd J, Sabikunnahar B, Lahue KG, Montgomery TL, Caldwell S, Varnum S, Frietze S and Krementsov DN. p38 MAP Kinase Signaling in Microglia Plays a Sex-Specific Protective Role in CNS Autoimmunity and Regulates Microglial Transcriptional States. Front Immunol. 2021 Oct 11;12:715311. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.715311. PMID: 34707603
Montgomery TL, Paavola M, Bruce EA, Botten JW, Crothers JW, Krementsov DN. Laboratory worker self-contamination with non-infectious SARS-CoV-2 DNA can result in false positive RT-PCR-based surveillance testing. J Clin Microbiol. 2021 Jun 18;59(7):e0072321. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00723-21. Epub 2021 Jun 18. PMID: 33952597.
Blais LL, Montgomery TL, Amiel E, Deming PB, Krementsov DN. Probiotic and commensal gut microbial therapies in multiple sclerosis and its animal models: a comprehensive review. Gut Microbes. 2021 Jan-Dec;13(1):1943289. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2021.1943289. PMID: 34264791
Montgomery T, Künstner A, Kennedy JJ, Fang Q, Asarian L, Culp-Hill R, D’Alessandro A, Teuscher C, Busch H, Krementsov DN. Interactions between host genetics and gut microbiota determine susceptibility to CNS autoimmunity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Oct 19;202002817.
Commentary on the article is here.
Lahue KG, Lara MK, Linton AA, Lavoie B, Fang Q, McGill MM, Crothers JW, Teuscher C, Mawe GM, Tyler AL, Mahoney JM, Krementsov DN. Identification of novel loci controlling inflammatory bowel disease susceptibility utilizing the genetic diversity of wild-derived mice. Genes and Immunity. (2020).
McGill MM, Sabikunnahar B, Fang Q, Teuscher C, Krementsov DN. The sex-specific role of p38 MAP kinase in CNS autoimmunity is regulated by estrogen receptor alpha. J Neuroimmunol. 2020 Mar 4;342:577209.
The Krementsov Lab receives funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.