Linda J Kenney2020-01-09T16:10:08+08:00
Linda J Kenney


Alumni, Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore

Research Program
Molecular Mechanics of Mechanotransduction

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

Adjunct Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, UTMB

Recent Research

Linda J Kenney


Research Areas

Signal transduction in bacteria; Bacterial Pathogenesis; Mechanotransduction and osmotic signaling in E. coli; Mechanisms of anti-silencing of virulence genes in Salmonella

Research Interests

Our laboratory is interested in signal transduction and the regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes. In particular, we are studying the two-component regulatory system EnvZ/OmpR that regulates the expression of outer membrane proteins as well as many other genes. Our present work focuses on how OmpR activates genes required for systemic infection (located on Salmonella pathogenicity island 2) in Salmonella enterica.

The Kenney Lab’s research was recently featured in an article exploring the bacterial molecular switch between virulence or dormancy, Salmonella Lifestyle Choices. Members of her lab have discovered that the bacterial protein SsrB is the molecular switch for determining whether Salmonella infections become acute and virulent, or remain in a dormant carrier state.

The study is published in eLife (Desai et al., The horizontally-acquired response regulator SsrB drives a Salmonella lifestyle switch by relieving biofilm silencing, February 2, 2016, eLife 2016; 5: e10747, doi: 10.7554/eLife.10747). Read full article.


Dr Kenney is a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her laboratory studies two-component systems in bacteria that control gene expression at a single cell and nanometer level.

Professor Linda J Kenney and Professor Michael Sheetz interviewed by the Washington Post at the April 2017 March for Science.


PhD University of Pennsylvania

Recent Publications

  1. Desai SK, and Kenney LJ. Switching Lifestyles Is an in vivo Adaptive Strategy of Bacterial Pathogens. Front Cell Infect Microbiol 2019; 9:421. [PMID: 31921700]
  2. Desai SK, Padmanabhan A, Harshe S, Zaidel-Bar R, and Kenney LJ. Salmonella biofilms program innate immunity for persistence in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2019;. [PMID: 31160462]
  3. Ottemann KM, and Kenney LJ. Editorial overview: Host-pathogen interactions: bacteria. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 2019; 47:iii-v. [PMID: 31138403]
  4. Liew ATF, Foo YH, Gao Y, Zangoui P, Singh MK, Gulvady R, and Kenney LJ. Single cell, super-resolution imaging reveals an acid pH-dependent conformational switch in SsrB regulates SPI-2. Elife 2019; 8. [PMID: 31033442]
  5. Chakraborty S, and Kenney LJ. A New Role of OmpR in Acid and Osmotic Stress in Salmonella and E. coli. Front Microbiol 2018; 9:2656. [PMID: 30524381]
  6. Kenney LJ. The role of acid stress in Salmonella pathogenesis. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 2018; 47:45-51. [PMID: 30529007]
  7. Ghosh M, Wang LC, Huber R, Gao Y, Morgan LK, Tulsian NK, Bond P, Kenney LJ, and Anand GS. Engineering an Osmosensor by Pivotal Histidine Positioning within Disordered Helices. Structure 2018;. [PMID: 30503779]
  8. Gulvady R, Gao Y, Kenney LJ, and Yan J. A single molecule analysis of H-NS uncouples DNA binding affinity from DNA specificity. Nucleic Acids Res. 2018;. [PMID: 30239908]
  9. Mather AE, Phuong TLT, Gao Y, Clare S, Mukhopadhyay S, Goulding DA, Hoang NTD, Tuyen HT, Lan NPH, Thompson CN, Trang NHT, Carrique-Mas J, Tue NT, Campbell JI, Rabaa MA, Thanh DP, Harcourt K, Hoa NT, Trung NV, Schultsz C, Perron GG, Coia JE, Brown DJ, Okoro C, Parkhill J, Thomson NR, Chau NVV, Thwaites GE, Maskell DJ, Dougan G, Kenney LJ, and Baker S. New Variant of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Associated with Invasive Disease in Immunocompromised Patients in Vietnam. MBio 2018; 9(5). [PMID: 30181247]
  10. Gao Y, Spahn C, Heilemann M, and Kenney LJ. The Pearling Transition Provides Evidence of Force-Driven Endosomal Tubulation during Salmonella Infection. MBio 2018; 9(3). [PMID: 29921673]

Lab Members