Sam Light

Assistant Professor
Research Summary
Microbes exhibit variable forms of cellular metabolism, the distinctive properties of which reflect critical features of relevant microbial ecosystems. In the context of the gut microbiota, these metabolic processes generate numerous small molecules that influence host biology in a myriad of ways. Our research seeks to develop a fundamental understanding of the relationship between microbial metabolism and healthy/diseased states of the gut microbiota and, eventually, to exploit these insights in the development of targeted therapies.
Bacterial Pathogenesis, Human Microbiome, Microbial Genetics, Protein Biochemistry
  • University of California, Berkeley, Postdoctoral Fellow 2019
  • Northwestern University, Postdoctoral Associate 2016
  • Northwestern University, PhD 2013
  • Bard College, BA 2008
Biosciences Graduate Program Association
  1. Little AS, Light SH. Stickland metabolism in the gut. Nat Microbiol. 2022 05; 7(5):603-604. View in: PubMed

  2. Rivera-Lugo R, Deng D, Anaya-Sanchez A, Tejedor-Sanz S, Tang E, Reyes Ruiz VM, Smith HB, Titov DV, Sauer JD, Skaar EP, Ajo-Franklin CM, Portnoy DA, Light SH. Listeria monocytogenes requires cellular respiration for NAD+ regeneration and pathogenesis. Elife. 2022 04 05; 11. View in: PubMed

  3. Rivera-Lugo R, Light SH, Garelis NE, Portnoy DA. RibU is an essential determinant of Listeria pathogenesis that mediates acquisition of FMN and FAD during intracellular growth. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 03 29; 119(13):e2122173119. View in: PubMed

  4. Tejedor-Sanz S, Stevens ET, Li S, Finnegan P, Nelson J, Knoesen A, Light SH, Ajo-Franklin CM, Marco ML. Extracellular electron transfer increases fermentation in lactic acid bacteria via a hybrid metabolism. Elife. 2022 02 11; 11. View in: PubMed

  5. Smith KP, Lee W, Tonelli M, Lee Y, Light SH, Cornilescu G, Chakravarthy S. Solution structure and dynamics of the mitochondrial-targeted GTPase-activating protein (GAP) VopE by an integrated NMR/SAXS approach. Protein Sci. 2022 05; 31(5):e4282. View in: PubMed

  6. Pfister CA, Light SH, Bohannan B, Schmidt T, Martiny A, Hynson NA, Devkota S, David L, Whiteson K. Conceptual Exchanges for Understanding Free-Living and Host-Associated Microbiomes. mSystems. 2022 Feb 22; 7(1):e0137421. View in: PubMed

  7. Méheust R, Huang S, Rivera-Lugo R, Banfield JF, Light SH. Post-translational flavinylation is associated with diverse extracytosolic redox functionalities throughout bacterial life. Elife. 2021 05 25; 10. View in: PubMed

  8. Zeng Z, Boeren S, Bhandula V, Light SH, Smid EJ, Notebaart RA, Abee T. Bacterial Microcompartments Coupled with Extracellular Electron Transfer Drive the Anaerobic Utilization of Ethanolamine in Listeria monocytogenes. mSystems. 2021 Apr 13; 6(2). View in: PubMed

  9. Light SH, Méheust R, Ferrell JL, Cho J, Deng D, Agostoni M, Iavarone AT, Banfield JF, D'Orazio SEF, Portnoy DA. Extracellular electron transfer powers flavinylated extracellular reductases in Gram-positive bacteria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Dec 09. View in: PubMed

  10. Light SH, Su L, Rivera-Lugo R, Cornejo JA, Louie A, Iavarone AT, Ajo-Franklin CM, Portnoy DA. A flavin-based extracellular electron transfer mechanism in diverse Gram-positive bacteria. Nature. 2018 10; 562(7725):140-144. View in: PubMed

  11. Light SH, Cahoon LA, Mahasenan KV, Lee M, Boggess B, Halavaty AS, Mobashery S, Freitag NE, Anderson WF. Transferase Versus Hydrolase: The Role of Conformational Flexibility in Reaction Specificity. Structure. 2017 02 07; 25(2):295-304. View in: PubMed

  12. Light SH, Cahoon LA, Halavaty AS, Freitag NE, Anderson WF. Structure to function of an a-glucan metabolic pathway that promotes Listeria monocytogenes pathogenesis. Nat Microbiol. 2016 Nov 07; 2:16202. View in: PubMed

  13. Light SH, Minasov G, Shuvalova L, Duban ME, Caffrey M, Anderson WF, Lavie A. Insights into the mechanism of type I dehydroquinate dehydratases from structures of reaction intermediates. J Biol Chem. 2015 Jul 31; 290(31):19008. View in: PubMed

  14. Shaw KE, Bondi CO, Light SH, Massimino LA, McAloon RL, Monaco CM, Kline AE. Donepezil is ineffective in promoting motor and cognitive benefits after controlled cortical impact injury in male rats. J Neurotrauma. 2013 Apr 01; 30(7):557-64. View in: PubMed