Jennifer L. Edwards, Ph.D. :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Jennifer L. Edwards, PhD

Jennifer L. Edwards, PhD

Center for Microbial Pathogenesis
Principal Investigator

Contact Information

The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Childrens Drive
Columbus, OH 43205 [ map ]
PH: (614) 355-3565
FX: (614) 722-2818
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Jennifer L. Edwards, PhD, is a Principal Investigator in the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital. She is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Edwards's NIH-funded research program focuses on the interaction of bacterial pathogens with host mucosal surfaces, with a specific interest in the molecular mechanisms contributing to asymptomatic disease and infectious disease disparity.

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  • Female

Languages Spoken:

  • English

Research Interests

Research Center:

Areas of Interest:

  • The focus of the Edwards laboratory is to elucidate the molecular/cellular mechanisms of neisserial pathogenesis, inclusive of those molecules contributing to colonization and disease progression. The lab is particularly interested in defining those host and bacterial factors that promote asymptomatic carriage/disease. In that N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis infections are limited to humans, the lab strives to mirror physiological conditions in experiments in which they routinely use primary human cells and clinically isolated bacteria. These investigative conditions most closely mimic the in vivo human environment and ensure that data generated are relevant to those host processes trigger during human disease. Although many of the lab's queries are rooted in cellular microbiology, they use a wide variety of approaches to explore the numerous questions yet to be answered. By further elucidating at the molecular and cellular level the (host and bacterial) factors and responses that contribute to colonization and disease progression, it may be possible to identify new strategies for the detection (biomarkers and diagnostics), the intervention (new therapeutic agents), and the prevention (vaccine development) of neisserial infections that, in turn, will translate to better disease management and, ultimately, in improved women’s and children’s health. Current areas of interest include the following:

    * How do cyclic levels of steroid hormones and oxygen availability influence gonococcal infection of the lower female genital tract

    * What are the mechanisms used by the pathogenic Neisseria to avoid killing by innate immune effectors during mucosal infection

    * Further definition of the mechanism(s) by which meningococci associate with and invade the airway epithelium

    * Mechanism by which gonococci associate with fetal and maternal membranes during pregnancy & how this relates to infection-induced adverse pregnancy outcomes

    * What are the host and bacterial factors that contribute to ascending infection of the female reproductive tract

Education and Training


  • The University of Iowa
    Date Completed: 06/30/2002

Post Doctoral

  • University of Iowa
    Date Completed: 06/30/2004

Professional Experience


  • Associate Professor of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University


  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University


  • Atack, J. M., I. Ibranovitch, C.-L. Y. Ong, K. Y. Djoko, N. H. Chen, R. vanden Hoven, M. P. Jennings, J. L. Edwards, and A. G. McEwan. 2014. A role for lactate dehydrogenases in the survival of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes and cervical epithelial cells.  J Infect Dis.. Vol. 210, no. October: 1311-1318.
  • Atack, J. M., Y. N. Srikantha, J. P. Welch, C. T. Steichen, R. N. vanden Hoven, S. M. Grimmond, D. S. M. P. Othman, U. Kappler, M. A. Apicella, M. P. Jennings, J. L. Edwards, and A. G. McEwan. 2013. Characterization of an ntrX mutant of Neisseria gonorrhoeae reveals a response regulator that controls expression of respiratory enzymes in oxidase positive proteobacteria.  J Bacteriol. Vol. 195, no. 11. (June): 2632-41.
  • Jen, F. E.-C., M. J. Warren, B. L. Schulz, P. M. Power, W. E. Swords, J. N. Weiser, M. A. Apicella, J. L. Edwards, and M. P. Jennings. 2013. Dual pili post-translational modifications synergize to mediate meningococcal adherence to platelet activating factor receptor on human airway cells.  PLoS Pathogens. Vol. 9, no. 5. (May): ee1003377.
  • Djoko, KY, J.A. Franiek, J.L. Edwards, M.L. Falsetta, S.P. Kidd, A.J. Potter, N.H. Chen, M.A. Apicella, M.P. Jennings, and A.G. McEwan. 2012. Phenotypic Characterization of a copA Mutant of Neisseria gonorrhoeae Identifies a Link between Copper and Nitrosative Stress.  Infect Immun. Vol. 80, no. 3. (March): 1065-1071.
  • Jennings, M. P., F. Jen, L. Roddam, M. A. Apicella, and J. L. Edwards. 2011. Neisseria gonorrhoeae pilin glycan contributes to CR3 activation during challenge of primary cervical epithelial cells.  Cell Microbiol. Vol. 13, no. 6. (June): 885-896.
  • Butler, E. K. and J. L. Edwards. 2011. The pathobiology of Neisseria gonorrhoeae lower female genital tract infection.  Front in Cell Infect Microbiol. Vol. 2, no. 120. (March): 1-12.
  • Edwards, J.L. 2010. Neisseria gonorrhoeae survival during primary human cervical epithelial cell infection requires nitric oxide and is augmented by progesterone.  Infect Immun. Vol. 78, no. 3. (March): 1202-1213.
  • Wu, H.-J., K.L Seib, Y.N. Srikhanta, J.L. Edwards, S.P., Kidd, T.L. Maguire, A. Hamilton, K.-T. Pan, H.-H. Hsiao, C.-W. Yao, S.M. Grimmond, M.A. Apicella, A.G. McEwan, A.H.-J.Wang, and M.P. Jennings. 2010. Manganese regulation of virulence factors and oxidative stress resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.  J Proteomics. Vol. 73, no. 5. (March): 899-916.
  • Achard, M.E.S., A.J. Hamilton, T. Dankowski, B. Heras, M.A. Schembri, J.L. Edwards, M.P. Jennings, and A.G. McEwan. 2009. A Periplasmic Thioredoxin-Like Protein Plays a Role in Defense against Oxidative Stress in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.  Infect Immun. Vol. 77, no. 11. (November): 4934-4939.
  • Potter, A.J., S.P. Kidd, J.L. Edwards, M.L. Falsetta, M.A. Apicella, M.P. Jennings, and A.G. McEwan. 2009. Esterase D Is Essential for Protection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae against Nitrosative Stress and for Bacterial Growth during Interaction with Cervical Epithelial Cells.  J Infect Dis. Vol. 200, no. 2. (July): 273-278.
  • Srikhanta, Y.N., S.J. Dowideit, J.L. Edwards, M.L. Falsetta, H.-J. Wu, O.B. Harrison, K.L. Fox, K.L. Seib, T.L. Maguire, A.H.-J. Wang, M.C. Maiden, S.M. Grimmond, M.A. Apicella, and M.P. Jennings. 2009. Phasevarions Mediate Random Switching of Gene Expression in Pathogenic Neisseria.  PLoS Pathogens. Vol. 5, no. 4. (April): ee1000400.
  • Potter, A.J., S.P. Kidd, J.L. Edwards, M.L. Falsetta, M.A. Apicella, M.P. Jennings, and A.G. McEwan. 2009. Thioredoxin reductase is essential for protection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae against killing by nitric oxide and for bacterial growth during interaction with cervical epithelial cells.  J Infect Dis. Vol. 199, no. 2. (January): 227-235.
  • Edwards, J. L. 2008. The role of complement in gonococcal infection of cervical epithelia.  Vaccine. Vol. 26, no. S8. (December): 156-161.
  • Lim, K.H.L., C.E. Jones, R.N. vanden Hoven, J.L. Edwards, M.L. Falsetta, M.A. Apicella, M.P. Jennings, and A.G. McEwan. 2008. Metal binding specificity of the MntABC permease of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and its influence on bacterial growth and interaction with cervical epithelial cells.  Infect Immun. Vol. 76, no. 8. (August): 3569-3576.
  • Seib, K.L., H.-J. Wu, Y.N. Srikhanta, J.L. Edwards, M.L. Falsetta, A.J. Hamilton, T.L. Maguire, S.M. Grimmond, M.A. Apicella, A.G. McEwan, and M.P. Jennings. 2007. Characterization of the OxyR regulon of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.  Mol Microbiol. Vol. 63, no. 1. (January): 54-68.
  • Edwards JL. 2007. Gender Differences in Neisseria Gonorrhoeae Pathogenesis. In Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, 4th Ed.. Edited by Brogden K. Washington DC: American Society for Microbiology Press.
  • Edwards, J.L. and M.A. Apicella. 2006. Neisseria gonorrhoeae PLD directly interacts with Akt kinase upon infection of primary, human, cervical epithelial cells.  Cell Microbiol. Vol. 8, no. 8. (August): 1253-1271.
  • Wu, H.-J., K.L. Seib, Y.N. Srikhanta, S.P. Kidd, J.L. Edwards, T.L. Maguire, S.M. Grimmond, M.A. Apicella, A.G. McEwan, and M.P. Jenning. 2006. PerR controls Mn-dependent resistance to oxidative stress in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.  Mol Microbiol. Vol. 60, no. 2. (April): 401-416.
  • Wu, H.-J., K.L. Seib, J.L. Edwards, M.A. Apicella, A.G. McEwan, and M.P. Jennings. 2005. Azurin of pathogenic Neisseria spp. is involved in defense against hydrogen peroxide and survival within cervical epithelial cells.  Infect Immun. Vol. 73, no. 12. (December): 8444-8448.
  • Edwards, J.L., and M.A. Apicella. 2005. I-domain-containing integrins serve as pilus receptors for Neisseria gonorrhoeae adherence to human epithelial cells.  Cell Microbiol. Vol. 7, no. 8. (August): 1197-1211.
  • Greiner,L.L., J.L. Edwards, J.Q. Shao, C.A. Rabinak, D. Entz, and M.A. Apicella. 2005. Biofilm formation by Neisseria gonorrhoeae.  Infect Immun. Vol. 73, no. 4. (April): 1964-1970.
  • Edwards, J.L., and M.A. Apicella. 2004. The molecular mechanisms used by Neisseria gonorrhoeae to initiate infection differ between men and women.  Clin Microbiol Rev. Vol. 17, no. 4. (October): 965-981.
  • Edwards, J. L., H. A. Harvey, and M. A. Apicella. 2004. Neisseria gonorrhoeae: The varying mechanism of pathogenesis in males and females. In Bacterial Invasion of Host Cells. Edited by Richard Lamont. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Edwards, J.L., D.D. Entz, and M.A. Apicella. 2003. Gonococcal phospholipase D modulates the expression and function of complement receptor 3 in primary cervical epithelial cells.  Infect Immun. Vol. 71, no. 11. (November): 6381-6391.
  • Edwards, J.L., and M.A. Apicella. 2002. The role of lipooligosaccharide in Neisseria gonorrhoeae pathogenesis of cervical epithelia: lipid A serves as a C3 acceptor molecule.  Cell Microbiol. Vol. 4, no. 9. (September): 585-598.
  • Edwards, J.L., E.J. Brown, S. Uk-Nham, J.G. Cannon, M.S. Blake, and M.A. Apicella. 2002. A co-operative interaction between Neisseria gonorrhoeae and complement receptor 3 mediates infection of primary cervical epithelial cells.  Cell Microbiol. Vol. 4, no. January: 571-584.
  • Edwards, J.L., E.J. Brown, K.A. Ault, M.A. Apicella. 2001. The role of complement receptor 3(CR3) in Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection of human cervical epithelia.  Cell Microbiol. Vol. 3, no. 9. (September): 611-622.
  • Edwards, J.L., J.Q. Shao, K.A. Ault, and M.A. Apicella. 2000. Neisseria gonorrhoeae elicits membrane ruffling and cytoskeletal rearrangements upon infection of primary human endocervical and ectocervical cells.  Infect Immun. Vol. 68, no. 9. (September): 5354-5363.
  • Wen, K.-K., P.C. Giardina, M.S. Blake, J.L. Edwards, M.A. Apicella, and P.A. Rubenstein. 2000. Interaction of the gonococcal porin P.IB with G- and F-actin.  Biochem. Vol. 39, no. January: 8638-8647.
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