Philip Patrick Adams, Ph.D.

Independent Research Scholar

Group on Gene Regulation in Bacterial Pathogens


NIHBC 49 - Conte 1C08


Research Topics

Across bacteria, systematic control of gene expression is critical for organisms to inhabit different environmental niches and successfully react to and combat stress. The bacterial spirochete Borrelia (Borreliella) burgdorferi is the causative agent of Lyme disease, the foremost vector-borne illness in the United States. This bacterium exists in a complex enzootic cycle that requires acquisition and transmission of B. burgdorferi between Ixodes scapularis ticks and small mammals and birds. Human infection, and the pathogenesis of Lyme disease, result from the bite of an infected tick.

The Adams lab investigates gene regulatory networks in B. burgdorferi. We are interested in further understanding the basic biological principles of B. burgdorferi transcription and post-transcriptional gene regulation. We globally mapped the spirochete’s transcriptome and discovered many novel transcripts and potential regulatory RNAs. Using genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry and tick-mouse infection models of Lyme disease, the Adams lab delineates important B. burgdorferi genes and regulatory responses during bacterial stress and host adaptation. Through our work we aim to better understand the biology of B. burgdorferi and the molecular mechanisms of its infectivity.


Dr. Philip Adams is an NIH Independent Research Scholar in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology of NICHD. He received his B.S. in Biology from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. His dissertation work, with Dr. Mollie W. Jewett identified genes expressed and/or required for B. burgdorferi tick and mouse infectivity. During a post-doctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Gisela Storz at the NICHD he characterized novel regulatory RNAs and RNA-binding proteins in the model bacterium, Escherichia coli. Dr. Adams’ group is studying mechanisms of gene regulation in B. burgdorferi.

Selected Publications

  1. Petroni E, Esnault C, Tetreault D, Dale RK, Storz G, Adams PP. Extensive diversity in RNA termination and regulation revealed by transcriptome mapping for the Lyme pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi. Nat Commun. 2023;14(1):3931.
  2. Adams PP, Baniulyte G, Esnault C, Chegireddy K, Singh N, Monge M, Dale RK, Storz G, Wade JT. Regulatory roles of Escherichia coli 5' UTR and ORF-internal RNAs detected by 3' end mapping. Elife. 2021;10.
  3. Kuhn HW, Lasseter AG, Adams PP, Avile CF, Stone BL, Akins DR, Jewett TJ, Jewett MW. BB0562 is a nutritional virulence determinant with lipase activity important for Borrelia burgdorferi infection and survival in fatty acid deficient environments. PLoS Pathog. 2021;17(8):e1009869.
  4. Adams PP, Storz G. Prevalence of small base-pairing RNAs derived from diverse genomic loci. Biochim Biophys Acta Gene Regul Mech. 2020;1863(7):194524.
  5. Melamed S, Adams PP, Zhang A, Zhang H, Storz G. RNA-RNA Interactomes of ProQ and Hfq Reveal Overlapping and Competing Roles. Mol Cell. 2020;77(2):411-425.e7.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Friday, May 13, 2022