Pamela V. Chang
Assistant Professor

Pamela V. Chang




Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Cornell University
C4-185 Veterinary Medical Center
Ithaca, NY 14853


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Pamela Chang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Pamela attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning a bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a minor in Biology. She carried out her graduate studies in Carolyn Bertozzi's laboratory in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving her Ph.D. in Chemistry, she moved to the Department of Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, where she was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Ruslan Medzhitov. Pamela joined the faculty at Cornell University in August 2015.

Research Description

We are colonized by trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, which inhabit the external and internal surfaces of our bodies. It is becoming increasingly evident that these microbes play an important role in regulating many aspects of host physiology, including the immune system. For example, the bacteria in the gut are critical for the development and function of the immune system, as germ-free mice have an underdeveloped intestinal immune system. In addition, perturbations to the populations of commensal bacteria have been linked to autoimmunity and chronic inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel diseases and metabolic syndrome.

The overall theme of our research is to understand how the host immune system is regulated by the gut microbiota through their secretion of small molecule metabolites. Our research focuses primarily on two areas: (1) the identification of metabolites produced by the gut microbiota that regulate the host immune system and, building on these discoveries, (2) the development of chemical tools to modulate the immune response. We employ biological and chemical approaches including the tools of molecular and cellular immunology, microbiology, chemical biology, biochemistry, and cell biology to elucidate key communication pathways between the gut microbiota and the host immune system. Our ultimate goal is to understand how immune homeostasis is maintained in the intestines, as such discoveries would have broad implications for the development of therapeutics and prophylactics for many inflammatory diseases.


Chang PV, Hao L, Offermanns S, Medzhitov R. "The microbial metabolite butyrate regulates intestinal macrophage function via histone deacetylase inhibition." Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 111, 2247-2252 (2014).

Chang PV, Bertozzi CR. "Imaging beyond the proteome." Chem Commun. 48, 8864-8879 (2012).

Chang PV, Dube DH, Sletten EM, Bertozzi CR. "A strategy for the selective imaging of glycans using caged metabolic precursors." J Am Chem Soc. 132, 9516-9518 (2010).

Chang PV*, Prescher JA*, Sletten EM, Baskin JM, Miller IA, Agard NJ, Lo A, Bertozzi CR. "Copper-free click chemistry in living animals." Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 107, 1821-1826 (2010). (*equal contribution)

Chang PV*, Chen X*, Smyrniotis C, Xenakis A, Hu T, Bertozzi CR, Wu P. "Metabolic labeling of sialic acids in living animals with alkynyl sugars." Angew Chem Int Ed. 48, 4030-4033 (2009).

Drake PM, Nathan JK, Stock CM, Chang PV, Muench MO, Nakata D, Reader JR, Gip P, Golden KP, Weinhold B, Gerardy-Schahn R, Troy II FA, Bertozzi CR. "Polysialic acid, a glycan with highly restricted expression, is found on human and murine leukocytes and modulates immune responses." J Immunol. 181, 6850-6858 (2008).

Chang PV, Prescher JA, Hangauer MJ, Bertozzi CR. "Imaging cell surface glycans with bioorthogonal chemical reporters." J Am Chem Soc. 129, 8400-8401 (2007).