Dr. Dawn Wetzel is an early-career physician-scientist who cares for children with infectious diseases and conducts basic and translational research in medically relevant parasitic diseases. She has been performing biological research throughout her undergraduate and medical training. She earned a Ph.D. in Microbiology by demonstrating that actin polymerization and calcium secretion regulate a unique form of motility and cell invasion by the Apicomplexa phylum of parasites. When she became a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellow, she began to characterize the molecular mechanisms that regulate Leishmania uptake by macrophages. Her work demonstrated that preventing Leishmania entry into macrophages through genetic or chemical inhibition of the Abl family kinases decreases disease manifestations in the mouse model of leishmaniasis. This work resulted in invitations to speak at national meetings, publications, and multiple competitive grants, including a Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (K08) from the NIH.

Dr. Wetzel's research career will focus on elucidating the molecular pathogenesis of leishmaniasis, which may lead to novel therapies to prevent infection with this important pathogen. She will also continue her clinical work in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and have a particular interest in patients with parasitic infections.


Medical School
Washington University School of Medicine (2005)
Columbia University/New York Presbyterian Hospital (2008), Pediatrics
Yale University School of Medicine (2011), Pediatric Infectious Diseases

Research Interest

  • Cellular and molecular pathogenesis of leishmaniasis and other parasitic infections
  • Development of novel antiparasitics
  • Host-pathogen interactions


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

The relative rate of kill of the MMV Malaria Box compounds provides links to the mode of antimalarial action and highlights scaffolds of medicinal chemistry interest.
Ullah I, Sharma R, Mete A, Biagini GA, Wetzel DM, Horrocks PD, J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 2020 Feb 75 2 362-370
Erratum to: An Outbreak of Brucellosis: An Adult and Pediatric Case Series.
Hassouneh L, Quadri S, Reto PP, Chaisavaneeyakorn S, Cutrell JB, Wetzel DM, Nijhawan AE, Open Forum Infect Dis 2019 Dec 6 12 ofz527
An Outbreak of Brucellosis: An Adult and Pediatric Case Series.
Hassouneh L, Quadri S, Reto PP, Chaisavaneeyakorn S, Cutrell JB, Wetzel DM, Nijhawan AE, Open Forum Infect Dis 2019 Oct 6 10 ofz384
The Abl-1 kinase is dispensable for NK cell inhibitory signaling and is not involved in murine NK cell education.
Ganesan S, Thanh TL, Kadri N, Chambers BJ, Meinke S, Brodin P, Vivier E, Wetzel DM, Koleske AJ, Höglund P Scand. J. Immunol. 2017 Jun
The Src kinases Hck, Fgr, and Lyn activate Abl2/Arg to facilitate IgG-mediated phagocytosis and Leishmania infection.
Wetzel DM, Rhodes EL, Li S, McMahon-Pratt D, Koleske AJ J. Cell. Sci. 2016 Jun
The Abl and Arg kinases mediate distinct modes of phagocytosis and are required for maximal Leishmania infection.
Wetzel DM, McMahon-Pratt D, Koleske AJ Mol. Cell. Biol. 2012 Aug 32 15 3176-86
Staphylococcus aureus activates type I IFN signaling in mice and humans through the Xr repeated sequences of protein A.
Martin FJ, Gomez MI, Wetzel DM, Memmi G, O'Seaghdha M, Soong G, Schindler C, Prince A J. Clin. Invest. 2009 Jul 119 7 1931-9
Gliding motility leads to active cellular invasion by Cryptosporidium parvum sporozoites.
Wetzel DM, Schmidt J, Kuhlenschmidt MS, Dubey JP, Sibley LD Infect. Immun. 2005 Sep 73 9 5379-87
Evidence that the cADPR signalling pathway controls calcium-mediated microneme secretion in Toxoplasma gondii.
Chini EN, Nagamune K, Wetzel DM, Sibley LD Biochem. J. 2005 Jul 389 Pt 2 269-77
Calcium-mediated protein secretion potentiates motility in Toxoplasma gondii.
Wetzel DM, Chen LA, Ruiz FA, Moreno SN, Sibley LD J. Cell. Sci. 2004 Nov 117 Pt 24 5739-48


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Honors & Awards

  • Young Physician-Scientist Award
    American Society of Clinical Investigation (2013)
  • IDSA Fellow's Research Award and Travel Grant
    Top abstracts by infectious disease fellows-in-training - Infectious Diseases Society of America (2010)
  • Alexander Berg Prize
    Graduating medical student presenting the best research in molecular microbiology - Washington University School of Medicine (2005)
  • William A. McElroy Award for Undergraduate Research in Biology
    Graduating student with th emost promise in biological research - Johns Hopkins University (1998)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Eastern Society for Pediatric Research (2013)
  • American Society for Microbiology (2012)
  • American Medical Association (2009)
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America (2009)
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society of America (2009)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (2005)