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Sarah E. Clark, PhD

Assistant Professor


Academic Office:
12700 E. 19th Avenue
Mail Stop #8606
Aurora, CO 80045
​​​The Clark lab investigates bacterial-driven immune modulation in the respiratory tract. The upper respiratory tract is home to a diverse microbial community that includes both commensal and opportunistic bacterial pathogens. Research in the lab explores how exposure to these bacteria influences upper and lower respiratory tract inflammation and disease.

These studies focus on innate immune responses to bacterial-derived products. Specifically, we are interested in bacterial activation of pathways leading to the secretion of IL-10, the prototypical anti-inflammatory cytokine, and how this response influences pre-existing inflammation as well as susceptibility to secondary infections. We model host-pathogen interactions using Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common cause of acute otitis media and bacterial pneumonia in children, Haemophilus influenzae, and commensal bacterial species.

The long-term goal of this work is to identify new therapeutic approaches for the clinically significant problems of respiratory tract infection and inflammation. ​
University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine Aurora, CO
  • American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Conference. Poster and oral presentation. 
  • CU Denver Postdoctoral Research Day. Poster presentation.
  • Colorado Immunology Conference. Poster and oral presentation.
  • Keystone Symposium Conference “Innate Immunity and Determinants of Microbial Pathogenesis”. Poster and oral presentation.
  • CU Denver Postdoctoral Research Day. Poster presentation. 
  • Colorado Immunology Conference. Poster presentation.
  • Microbial Toxins and Pathogenicity Gordan Research Seminar and Research Conference. Seminar Vice Chair (Research Seminar) and Oral presentation (Research Conference). 
  • Colorado Immunology Conference. Poster presentation.

University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
  • Microbial Toxins and Pathogenicity Gordan Research Seminar and Research Conference. Oral presentation (Research Seminar), and Poster presentation (Research Conference). 
  • Bacterial Cell Surfaces Gordan Research Conference. Poster presentation. 
  • Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group Symposium, University of Pennsylvania. Poster presentation. 
  • Keystone Meeting Immunity in the Respiratory Tract: Challenges of the Lung Environment. Poster presentation. 
  • ASM General Meeting. Poster presentation. 

Colby College, Waterville, ME
  • Research Symposium, Colby College. Oral presentation. 
  • Undergraduate Summer Biology Research Symposium, Colby College. Oral presentation. 
  • Northeastern Microbiologists: Physiology, Ecology, and Taxonomy (NEMPET) Meeting. Poster presentation.​ 
Click here for a list of Dr. Clark’s recent publications: 

  • Clark SE, Burrack KS, Jameson SC, Hamilton SE, Lenz LL. NK cell IL-10 production requires IL-15 and IL-10 driven STAT3 activation. Frontiers in Immunology 2019; 10:2087.
  • Soderborg TK, Clark SE, Mulligan CE, Janssen RC, Babcock L, Ir D, Young B, Kriebs N, Lemas DJ, Johnson LK, Weir T, Lenz LL, Frank DN, Hernandez TL, Kuhn KA, D'Alessandro A, Barbour LA, El Kasmi KC, Friedman JE. The gut microbiota in infants of obsese mothers increases inflammation and susceptibility to NAFLD. Nature Communications 2018; 9:4462.
  • Clark SE, Schmidt RL, McDermott DS, Lenz LL. A Batf3/Nlrp3/IL-18 axis promotes natural killer cell IL-10 production during Listeria monocytogenes infection. Cell Reports 2018;23:2582-2595.
  • Clark SE*, Filak FC*, Guthrie BS, Schmidt RL, Jamieson A, Merkel P, Knight V, Cole CM, Raulet DH, Lenz LL. Bacterial manipulation of NK cell regulatory activity increases susceptibility to Listeria monocytogenes infection. PLoS Pathogens 2016;6:e1005708. *equal contribution.
  • Clark SE, Eichelberger K, Weiser JN. Evasion of killing by human antibody and complement through multiple variations in the surface oligosaccharide of Haemophilus influenzae. Molecular Microbiology 2013;88:603-18.
  • Clark SE, Weiser JN. Microbial modulation of host immunity with the small molecule phosphorylcholine. Infection and Immunity 2013;81:392-401.
  • Clark SE, Snow J, Li J, Zola TA, Weiser JN. Phosphorylcholine allows for evasion of ​bactericidal antibody by Haemophilus influenzae. PLoS Pathogens 2012;8:e1002521.
  • Nakamura S, Shchepetov M, Dalia AB, Clark SE, Murphy TF, Sethi S, Gilsdorf JR, Smith AL, Weiser JN. Molecular basis of increased serum resistance among pulmonary isolates of non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae. PLoS Pathogens 2011;7:e1001247.
  • Clark SE, Jude BA, Danner GR, Fekete FA. Identification of a multidrug efflux pump in Flavobacterium johnsoniae. Veterinary Research 2009;40:55.
  • McIntosh D, Cunningham M, Ji B, Fekete FA, Parry EM, Clark SE, Zalinger ZB, Gilg IC, Danner GR,Johnson KA, Beattie M, Ritchie R. Transferable, multiple antibiotic and mercury resistance in Atlantic Canadian isolates of Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida is associated with carriage of an IncA/C plasmid similar to the Salmonella enterica plasmid pSN254. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2008;61:1221-8.
​University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, CO
  • American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Immunology Conference Invited Speaker (2018)
  • Translational Research Category Poster Winner, CU Denver Colorado Postdoctoral Research
  • Day (2016)
  • AAI Young Investigator Award and Invited Speaker, Colorado Immunology Conference (2015)
  • Keystone Symposium Conference “Innate Immunity and Determinants of Microbial
  • Pathogenesis” Invited Speaker (2015)
  • AAI Young Investigator Award, Colorado Immunology Conference (2014)
  • Microbial Toxins and Pathogenicity Gordan Research Seminar Vice Chair (Research Seminar) and Invited Speaker (Research Conference) (2014)

University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
  • Microbial Toxins and Pathogenicity Gordan Research Seminar Invited Speaker (2012)
  • John Samuel Kanefield Prize for Cystic Fibrosis Research (2011)

Colby College, Waterville, ME  (2004-2008)
  • Deans List
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • INBRE Steering Committee Fund
  • Colby College Dean’s Special Projects Fund
  • Kathryn Ellis Fredericks Student Research Fund
  • Fenton Chair Fund
  • American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
  • American Thoracic Society (ATS)
  • American Heart Association (AHA)
  • American Association of Microbiologists (ASM)​​