Stephen H. Leppla, Ph.D., B.S.

Senior Investigator

Microbial Pathogenesis Section


Building 33, Room 1W20B7
33 North Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

The Microbial Pathogenesis Section studies bacterial diseases related to biodefense pathogens. Research focuses on identification and analysis of bacterial virulence factors and their genetic regulation; structure-function analysis of bacterial proteins and other factors; disease pathogenesis; and development of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.


Dr. Leppla earned a B.S. in biology from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin. After postdoctoral study at the University of California-Berkeley and Brown University, he became a research scientist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Maryland. He moved to the National Institutes of Health in 1989 and to NIAID in 2003.

Selected Publications

  1. Mendenhall MA, Liu S, Portley MK, O'Mard D, Fattah R, Szabo R, Bugge TH, Khillan JS, Leppla SH, Moayeri M. Anthrax lethal factor cleaves regulatory subunits of phosphoinositide-3 kinase to contribute to toxin lethality. Nat Microbiol. 2020;5(12):1464-1471.

  2. Liu J, Zuo Z, Sastalla I, Liu C, Jang JY, Sekine Y, Li Y, Pirooznia M, Leppla SH, Finkel T, Liu S. Sequential CRISPR-Based Screens Identify LITAF and CDIP1 as the Bacillus cereus Hemolysin BL Toxin Host Receptors. Cell Host Microbe. 2020;28(3):402-410.e5.

  3. McCall RM, Sievers ME, Fattah R, Ghirlando R, Pomerantsev AP, Leppla SH. Bacillus anthracis Virulence Regulator AtxA Binds Specifically to the pagA Promoter Region. J Bacteriol. 2019;201(23).

  4. Chen KH, Liu S, Leysath CE, Miller-Randolph S, Zhang Y, Fattah R, Bugge TH, Leppla SH. Anthrax Toxin Protective Antigen Variants That Selectively Utilize either the CMG2 or TEM8 Receptors for Cellular Uptake and Tumor Targeting. J Biol Chem. 2016;291(42):22021-22029.

  5. Liu S, Liu J, Ma Q, Cao L, Fattah RJ, Yu Z, Bugge TH, Finkel T, Leppla SH. Solid tumor therapy by selectively targeting stromal endothelial cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;113(28):E4079-87.

This page was last updated on July 19th, 2021