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Victor J. Torres, PhD
Victor J. Torres, PhD

Victor J. Torres, PhD

Member, St. Jude Faculty

  • Chair, Host-Microbe Interactions



  • BS (Industrial Microbiology) – University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus, Mayagüez, PR
  • PhD (Microbiology and Immunology) - Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Infectious Diseases) - Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Microbiology and Immunology) - Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN

Honors and Awards

  • 2023  Albert and Rosemary Joseph Endowed Chair in Host-Microbe Interactions
  • 2023  American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow
  • 2021  MacArthur Fellow
  • 2021  American Academy of Microbiology Fellow
  • 2018  New York University Grossman School of Medicine Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award
  • 2014  Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Fellow
  • 2009 The American Heart Association National Scientist Development Grant
  • 2009  NIH-NIAID: K22 research scholar development award
  • 2003−2004  NIH-NIGMS: F30 Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellowship
  • 1998−2000  NIH-NIGMS: Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Scholar

Research Interests

  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Staphylococcus aureus biology
  • Toxin biology
  • Development of novel therapeutics against multidrug resistant pathogens

Selected Publications

Ilmain JK, Perelman SS, Panepinto MC, Irnov I, Coudray N, Samhadaneh N, Pironti A, Ueberheide B, Ekiert DC, Bhabha G, Torres VJ. Unlatching of the stem domains in the Staphylococcus aureus pore-forming leukocidin LukAB influences toxin oligomerization. Journal of Biological Chemistry Oct 4:105321, 2023.

Loredan DG, Devlin JC, Lacey KA, Howard N, Chen Z, Zwack EE, Lin J-D, Ruggles KV, Khanna KM, Torres VJ*, Loke P*. Single-cell analysis of CX3CR1+ cells reveal a pathogenic role for BIRC5+ myeloid proliferating cells driven by Staphylococcus aureus leukotoxins. bioRxiv 2023.02.27.529760. Journal of Immunology Jul 19;ji2300166, 2023. *Co-corresponding authors

Buckley PT*, Chan R, Fernandez J, Luo J, O’Malley A, Lacey KA, DuMont AL, Brezski RJ, Zheng S, Malia T, Whitaker B, Zwolak A, Payne A, Clark D, Sigg M, Lacy E, Kornilova A, Kwok D, McCarthy S, Wu B, Morrow B, Nemeth-Seay J, Petley T, Wu S, Strohl WR, Lynch AS, Torres VJ*. Novel multivalent antibody biologic to prevent and treat infections. Cell Host & Microbe May 10;31(5):751-765.e11, 2023.  *Co-corresponding authors

Lacey KA, Serpas L, Makita S, Wang Y, Rashidfarrokhi A, Soni C, Gonzalez S, Moreira A, Torres VJT*, Reizis B*. Secreted mammalian DNases protect against systemic bacterial infection by digesting biofilms. Journal of Experimental Medicine Jun 5;220(6):e20221086, 2023. doi: 10.1084/jem.20221086. *Co-corresponding authors

Anderson EE, Dyzenhaus S, Illmain JK, Sullivan MJ, van Bakel H, Torres VJ. SarS is a repressor of Staphylococcus aureus bi-component pore forming leukocidins. Infection and Immunity Mar 20:e0053222, 2023. doi: 10.1128/iai.00532-22

St. John A, Perault AI, Giacometti SI, Sommerfield AG, DuMont AL, Lacey KA, Zheng X, Sproch J, Petzold C, Dancel-Manning K, Gonzalez S, Annavajhala M, Beckford C, Zeitouni N, Liang F-X, van Bakel H, Shopsin B, Uhlemann A-C, Pironti A*, Torres VJ*. Capsular polysaccharide is essential for the virulence of the antimicrobial-resistant pathogen Enterobacter hormaechei. mBio Feb 13;e0259022, 2023. *Co-corresponding authors

Dyzenhaus S, Sullivan MJ, Alburquerque B, van de Guchte A, Chung M, Fulmer Y, Copin R, Ilmain JK, O’Keefe A, Altman DR, Stubbe F-X, Podkowik M, Dupper AC, Shopsin B, van Bakel H*, Torres VJ*. Evolution of hypervirulence during bloodstream adaptation of CA-MRSA strain USA300. Cell Host & Microbe Feb 8;31:1-15, 2023. *Co-corresponding authors

Ching KL, de Vries M, Gago J, Dancel-Manning K, Sall J, Rice WJ, Barnett C, Liang F-X, Thorpe LE, Shopsin B, Segal LN, Dittmann M*, Torres VJ*, Cadwell K*. ACE2-containing defensosomes serve as decoys to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection. bioRxiv 2021.12.17.473223; PLoS Biology Sep 13;20(9):e3001754, 2022. *Co-corresponding authors

Zwack EE, Chen Z, Devlin JC, Li Z, Zheng X, Weinstock A, Lacey KA, Fisher EA, Fenyo D, Ruggles KV*, Loke P*, Torres VJ*. Staphylococcus aureus induces a muted host response in human blood that blunts the recruitment of neutrophils. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Aug 2;119(31):e2123017119, 2022. *Co-corresponding authors

Gago J, Filardo TD, Conderino S, Magaziner SJ, Dubrovskaya Y, Inglima K, Iturrate E, Pironti A, Schluter J, Cadwell K, Hochman S, Li H, Torres VJ*, Thorpe LE*, Shopsin B*. Pathogen species predicts mortality in nosocomial bloodstream infection in patients with COVID-19. Open Forum Infectious Diseases Apr 5;9(6):ofac083, 2022. *Equal contribution

Zheng X, Marsman G, Lacey KA, Chapman JR, Goosmann C, Ueberheide BM, Torres VJ. The cell envelope of Staphylococcus aureus selectively controls the secretion of virulence factors. Nature Communications Oct 26;12(1):6193, 2021.

Perelman SS, James DBA, Boguslawski KM, Nelson CW, Ilmain JK, Zwack EE, Prescott RA, Mohamed A, Tam K, Chan R, Narechania A, Pawline MB, Vozhilla N, Moustafa AM, Kim SY, Dittmann M, Ekiert DC, Bhabha G, Shopsin B, Planet PJ, Koralov SB, Torres VJ. Genetic variation of staphylococcal LukAB toxin determines receptor tropism. Nature Microbiology Jun;6(6):731-745, 2021. PMCID: PMC8597016

Vasquez MT, Lubkin A, Reyes-Robles T, Days CJ, Lacey KA, Jennings MP, Torres VJ. Identification and characterization of the Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (DARC) targeting region within the Staphylococcus aureus LukED toxin. Journal of Biological Chemistry 295(50) 17241–17250, 2020.

Tam K, Lacey KA, Devlin JC, Coffre M, Sommerfield A, Chan R, O’Malley A, Koralov SB, Loke P, Torres VJ. Targeting leukocidin-mediated immune evasion protects mice from Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. Journal of Experimental Medicine Sep 7;217(9):e20190541, 2020.

Devlin JC, Zwack EZ, Tang MS, Li Z, Fenyo D, Torres VJ*, Ruggles KV*, Loke P*. Deconvolution of myeloid cell cytokine activation profiles identifies neutrophil signatures as prognostic features. The Journal of Immunology Jun 15;204(12):3389-3399, 2020. *Co-corresponding authors

Boguslawski KM, McKeown AN, Lacey KA, Day CJ, Tam K, Vozhilla N, Kim SY, Jennings MP, Koralov SB, Elde NC, Torres VJ. Exploiting species specificity to understand the tropism of a human specific toxin. Science Advances Mar 11;6(11):eaax7515, 2020.

Keller MD, Liang F-X, Dhabaria A, Tam K, Ueberheide B, Unutmaz D, Torres VJ*, Cadwell K*. Secretory autophagy counters bacterial toxinosis through the production of decoy exosomes. Nature Mar;579(7798):260-264, 2020. *Co-corresponding authors

Berends ETM, Zheng X, Zwack EE, Ménager MM, Cammer M, Shopsin B, Torres VJ. Staphylococcus aureus impairs the function of and kills human dendritic cells via the LukAB toxin. mBio Jan 2;10(1), 2019. 

Sause WE, Balasubramanian, Irnov I, Copin C, Sullivan MJ, Sommerfield A, Chan R, Dhabaria A, Askenazi A, Ueberheide B, Shopsin B, van Bakel H,  Torres VJ. The purine biosynthesis regulator PurR moonlights as a virulence regulator in Staphylococcus aureus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Jul 2;116(27):13563-13572, 2019.

Lubkin A, Lee WL*, Alonzo F, Wang C, Aligo J, Keller M, Girgis NM, Reyes-Robles T, Chan R, O’Malley A, Buckley P, Vozhilla N, Vasquez M, Su J, Sugiyama M, Yeung ST, Coffre M, Bajwa S, Chen E, Martin P, Kim SY, Loomis C, Worthen GS, Shopsin B, Khanna KM, Weinstock D, Lynch AS, Koralov SB, Loke P, Cadwell K, Torres VJ*. Staphylococcus aureus leukocidins target Duffy in the vasculature to cause lethality. Cell Host & Microbe Mar 13;25(3):463-470, 2019. *Co-corresponding author

Copin R, Sause WE, Fulmer Y, Balasubramanian D, Dyzenhaus S, Ahmed JM, Kumar K, Lees J, Stachel A, Fisher JC, Drlica K, Phillips M, Weiser JN, Planet PJ, Uhlemann AC, Altman DR, Sebra R, van Bakel H, Lighter J*, Torres VJ*, Shopsin B*. Sequential evolution of virulence and resistance during clonal spread of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Jan 29;116(5):1745-1754, 2019. *Co-corresponding author

Chan R, Buckley PT, O’Malley A, Sause WE, Alonzo 3rd F, Lubkin A, Boguslawski K, Payne A, Fernandez J, Strohl WR, Whitaker B, Lynch AS*, Torres VJ*. Identification of novel biologic agents to neutralize the bicomponent leukocidins of Staphylococcus aureus. Science Translational Medicine Jan 16;11(475), 2019. *Co-corresponding author

Harper L, Balasubramanian D, Ohneck EA, Sause WE, Chapman J, Mejia-Sosa B, Lhakhang T, Heguy A, Tsirigos A, Ueberheide B, Boyd JM, Lun DS, Torres VJ. Staphylococcus aureus responds to the central metabolite pyruvate to regulate virulence. mBio Jan 23;9(1):e02272-17, 2018. PMID: 29362239

Balasubramanian D, Ohneck EA, Chapman J, Weiss A, Kim MK, Reyes-Robles T, Shaw LN, Lun DS, Ueberheide B, Shopsin B, Torres VJ. Staphylococcus aureus coordinates leukocidin expression and pathogenesis by sensing metabolic fluxes via RpiRc. mBio Jun 21;7(3), 2016.

Reyes-Robles T, Lubkin A, Alonzo F 3rd, Lacy DB, Torres VJ. Dominant-negative leukotoxin mutants protect from Staphylococcus aureus intoxication. EMBO report Mar;17(3):428-40, 2016.

Spaan AN, Reyes-Robles T, Badiou C, Cochet S, Yoong P, Day CJ, de Haas CJC, Boguslawski K, van Kessel KPM, Vandenesh F, Jennings MP, Le Van Kim C, Colin Y, van Strijp JAG, Henry T*, Torres VJ*. Staphylococcus aureus targets the Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (DARC) to promote erythrocytes lysis. Cell Host & Microbe Sept 9;18:1-8, 2015. *Co-corresponding authors

Yoong P, Torres VJ. Counter inhibition between leukotoxins attenuates Staphylococcus aureus virulence. Nature Communications Sep 2;6:8125, 2015.

Maurer K, Reyes-Robles T, Alonzo F 3rd, Durbin J, Torres VJ*, Cadwell K*. Autophagy mediates tolerance to Staphylococcus aureus. Cell Host & Microbe Apr 8;17(4):429-40, 2015. *Co-corresponding authors

Benson M, Ohneck E, Chanelle C, Alonzo F 3rd, Narechania A, Sergios S, Satola S, Uhlemann AC, Sebra R, Deikus G, Shopsin B, Planet PJ*, Torres VJ*. Evolution of hypervirulence by a MRSA clone through acquisition of a transposable element. Molecular Microbiology Aug;93(4):664-81, 2014. *Co-corresponding authors

Reyes-Robles T, Alonzo F 3rd, Kozhaya L, Lacy DB, Unutmaz D, Torres VJ. Staphylococcus aureus targets the chemokine receptors CXCR1/CXCR2 to kill leukocytes and promote infection. Cell Host & Microbe Oct 16;14(4) 453-59, 2013.

DuMont AL, Yoong P, Day C, Alonzo F 3rd, McDonald HW, Jennings MP, Torres VJ. The Staphylococcus aureus cytotoxin LukAB kills human neutrophils by targeting the CD11b subunit of the integrin Mac-1. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Jun 25;110(26):10794-9, 2013.

Alonzo F 3rd, Kozhaya L, Rawlings SA, Reyes-Robles T, DuMont AL, Myszka DG, Landau N, Unutmaz D, Torres VJ. CCR5 is a receptor for Staphylococcus aureus leukotoxin ED. Nature Jan 3;493(7430):51-55, 2013.

Alonzo F 3rd, Benson MA, Chen J, Shopsin B, Novick RP, Torres VJ. Staphylococcus aureus leukocidin ED contributes to systemic infection by targeting neutrophils and promoting bacterial growth in vivo. Molecular Microbiology Jan;83(2):423-35, 2012.

Benson MA, Lilo S, Wasserman G, Thoendel M, Smith A, Horswill AR, Fraser J, Novick RP, Shopsin B, Torres VJ. Staphylococcus aureus regulates the expression and production of the staphylococcal superantigen-like secreted proteins in a Rot-dependent manner. Molecular Microbiology Aug;81(3):659-675, 2011.

DuMont AL, Nygaard T, Watkins R, Smith A, Kozhaya L, Shopsin B, Kreiswirth B, Unutmaz D, Voyich J, Torres VJ. Identification of a novel cytotoxin that contributes to Staphylococcus aureus pathogenesis. Molecular Microbiology Feb;79(3):814-25, 2011.

Torres VJ, Stauff DL, Pishchany G, Bezbradica JS, Gordy LI, Iturregui J, Anderson KL, Dunman P, Joyce S, Skaar EP. A Staphylococcus aureus regulatory system that responds to host heme and modulates virulence. Cell Host & Microbe April;1(2): 109-119, 2007.

Last update: October 2023