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Moonah, Shannon

Shannon Moonah

Primary Appointment

Medicine- Infectious Diseases and International Health

Contact Information

UVA Division of Infectious Diseases
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-243-1230

Research Interests

Host-pathogen interactions; molecular parasitology; mucosal inflammation; immunopathology and repair. Our research interests evolved from studying a parasite that causes inflammation of the gut, similar to IBD.

Research Description

Shannon Moonah MD, ScM, is a physician-scientist in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Virginia (UVA). Dr. Moonah grew up in Jamaica, where he attended medical school at the University of the West Indies. For his residency, Dr. Moonah came to the U.S. to train at Howard University in Washington, D.C, which included clinical and research electives at the National Institutes of Health. Prior to his fellowship, Dr. Moonah completed graduate training in molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. At UVA, He completed a four-year clinical and research fellowship program in infectious diseases prior to joining the faculty in 2016. His research is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He has special interests in molecular parasitology, gut inflammation and repair. Entamoeba histolytica causes inflammation of the colon termed amebic colitis, similar to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Our current research projects evolved from our finding that the E. histolytica parasite produces a homolog of the proinflammatory cytokine MIF. Our research interests are motivated by three complementary projects: 1. Antivirulence strategies that target mediators of inflammation-induced tissue destruction: We identified the Entamoeba histolytica homolog of the upstream inflammatory cytokine MIF (EhMIF) as a mediator of parasite-induced mucosal inflammation and immunopathology. We are currently investigating anti-EhMIF antibodies as an antivirulence therapeutic for severe amebic colitis. Ghosh et al. JID 2019 2. COP9 signalosome: we recently found that the parasite-produced multi-subunit COP9 signalosome is an essential regulator of protein turnover. We are exploring how the parasite complex works. 3. Inflammation-driven intestinal repair: we are currently investigating the mechanism by which the activation of CD74 (MIF receptor) leads to gut repair. Farr et al. CMGH 2020 (the official basic and translational science journal of AGA) This work expands our knowledge of mucosal immunology, gut repair, host-parasite interaction, molecular parasitology, and highlights potential treatment targets. These studies may contribute to a better overall understanding of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), beyond amebic colitis. Also, what is learned may be applicable to other parasite pathogens that possess their own MIF and COP9 homologs such as Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Trypanosoma, and Leishmania.

Selected Publications

Farr L, Ghosh S, Jiang N, Watanabe K, Parlak M, Bucala R, Moonah S, CD74 signaling links inflammation to intestinal epithelial cell regeneration and promotes mucosal healing., 2020; Cellular and molecular gastroenterology and hepatology. () PMID: 32004754 |

Ghosh S, Padalia J, Moonah S, Tissue Destruction Caused by Entamoeba histolytica Parasite: Cell Death, Inflammation, Invasion, and the Gut Microbiome., 2019; Current clinical microbiology reports. 6(1) 51-57 PMID: 31008019 | PMCID: PMC6449278

Ghosh S, Jiang N, Farr L, Ngobeni R, Moonah S, Parasite-Produced MIF Cytokine: Role in Immune Evasion, Invasion, and Pathogenesis., 2019; Frontiers in immunology. 10() 1995 PMID: 31497025 | PMCID: PMC6712082

Ghosh S, Padalia J, Ngobeni R, Abendroth J, Farr L, Shirley DA, Edwards T, Moonah S, Targeting parasite-produced MIF as an anti-virulence strategy with antibiotic-antibody combination to reduce tissue damage., 2019; The Journal of infectious diseases. () PMID: 31677380 |

Madden GR, Shirley DA, Townsend G, Moonah S, Case Report: Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding due to Entamoeba histolytica Detected Early by Multiplex PCR: Case Report and Review of the Laboratory Diagnosis of Amebiasis., 2019; The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene. () PMID: 31674299 |

Shirley DT, Watanabe K, Moonah S, Significance of amebiasis: 10 reasons why neglecting amebiasis might come back to bite us in the gut., 2019; PLoS neglected tropical diseases. 13(11) e0007744 PMID: 31725715 |

Farr L, Watanabe K, Moonah S, Purification of Antibodies Against Entamoeba histolytica MIF and Their Use in Analyzing Human and Mouse Samples., 2019; Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2080() 237-247 PMID: 31745886 |

Ghosh S, Leaton LA, Farr L, Barfield A, Moonah S, Interaction between parasite-encoded JAB1/CSN5 and macrophage migration inhibitory factor proteins attenuates its proinflammatory function., 2018; Scientific reports. 8(1) 10241 PMID: 29980718 |

Shirley DT, Farr L, Watanabe K, Moonah S, A Review of the Global Burden, New Diagnostics, and Current Therapeutics for Amebiasis., 2018; Open forum infectious diseases. 5(7) ofy161 PMID: 30046644 | PMCID: PMC6055529

Jiang NM, Cowan M, Moonah SN, Petri WA, The Impact of Systemic Inflammation on Neurodevelopment., 2018; Trends in molecular medicine. 24(9) 794-804 PMID: 30006148 | PMCID: PMC6110951

Ngobeni R, Samie A, Moonah S, Watanabe K, Petri WA, Gilchrist C, Entamoeba Species in South Africa: Correlations With the Host Microbiome, Parasite Burdens, and First Description of Entamoeba bangladeshi Outside of Asia., 2017; The Journal of infectious diseases. () PMID: 29236996 | PMCID: PMC5853652

Watanabe K, Gilchrist CA, Uddin MJ, Burgess SL, Abhyankar MM, Moonah SN, Noor Z, Donowitz JR, Schneider BN, Arju T, Ahmed E, Kabir M, Alam M, Haque R, Pramoonjago P, Mehrad B, Petri WA, Microbiome-mediated neutrophil recruitment via CXCR2 and protection from amebic colitis., 2017; PLoS pathogens. 13(8) e1006513 PMID: 28817707 | PMCID: PMC5560520

Ngobeni R, Abhyankar MM, Jiang NM, Farr LA, Samie A, Haque R, Moonah SN, Entamoeba histolytica-Encoded Homolog of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor Contributes to Mucosal Inflammation during Amebic Colitis., 2017; The Journal of infectious diseases. 215(8) 1294-1302 PMID: 28186296 |

Shirley DA, Moonah S, Fulminant Amebic Colitis after Corticosteroid Therapy: A Systematic Review., 2016; PLoS neglected tropical diseases. 10(7) e0004879 PMID: 27467600 | PMCID: PMC4965027

Moonah S, Sanders NG, Persichetti JK, Sullivan DJ, Erythrocyte lysis and Xenopus laevis oocyte rupture by recombinant Plasmodium falciparum hemolysin III., 2014; Eukaryotic cell. 13(10) 1337-45 PMID: 25148832 | PMCID: PMC4187644

Jiang NM, Tofail F, Moonah SN, Scharf RJ, Taniuchi M, Ma JZ, Hamadani JD, Gurley ES, Houpt ER, Azziz-Baumgartner E, Haque R, Petri WA, Febrile illness and pro-inflammatory cytokines are associated with lower neurodevelopmental scores in Bangladeshi infants living in poverty., 2014; BMC pediatrics. 14() 50 PMID: 24548288 | PMCID: PMC3936797

Moonah SN, Abhyankar MM, Haque R, Petri WA, The macrophage migration inhibitory factor homolog of Entamoeba histolytica binds to and immunomodulates host macrophages., 2014; Infection and immunity. 82(9) 3523-30 PMID: 24818664 | PMCID: PMC4187827

Moonah SN, Jiang NM, Petri WA, Host immune response to intestinal amebiasis., 2013; PLoS pathogens. 9(8) e1003489 PMID: 23990778 | PMCID: PMC3749964