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. Bou-Nader C, Bothra A, Garboczi DN, Leppla SH, Zhang J. Structural basis of R-loop recognition by the S9.6 monoclonal antibody. Nat Commun. 2022;13(1):1641.
  2. Zuo Z, Liu J, Sun Z, Cheng YW, Ewing M, Bugge TH, Finkel T, Leppla SH, Liu S. ERK and c-Myc signaling in host-derived tumor endothelial cells is essential for solid tumor growth. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023;120(1):e2211927120.
  3. Pomerantsev AP, Jackson-Hundley V, Sievers ME, Bothra A, Leppla SH. Structural and Functional Analysis of Toxin and Small RNA Gene Promoter Regions in Bacillus anthracis. J Bacteriol. 2022;204(9):e0020022.
  4. Merritt C, Chun EM, Fattah RJ, Silva LM, Ma QQ, Moayeri M, Paliga D, Neumann S, Heumann R, Leppla SH, Bugge TH. Imaging of anthrax intoxication in mice reveals shared and individual functions of surface receptors CMG-2 and TEM-8 in cellular toxin entry. J Biol Chem. 2022;298(1):101467.
  5. 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.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, August 22, 2023