Research Overview

The human body is estimated to contain 100 trillion bacteria–at least 10 times the number of human cells present. Dr. Surana’s research explores the nexus between these bacteria normally present in the body–collectively referred to as the microbiota–and the host immune system. His work focuses on two primary areas: 1. identifying specific bacteria that have immunomodulatory effects, and 2. understanding the mechanisms through which the host recognizes these immunomodulatory commensal organisms. Dr. Surana uses a combination of immunological tools, germ-free and gnotobiotic mice, and relevant animal models of disease to refine the biological mechanisms underlying the intricate balance between intestinal health and disease. Appreciating how the microbiota and the intestinal immune system are intertwined is critical to understanding the development and maintenance of mucosal immunity. Gaining insight into these relationships will allow future work to focus on clinically-relevant means of manipulating these mechanisms to treat patients with inflammatory conditions.

About Neeraj Surana

Dr. Surana received undergraduate degrees in Biology, Economics, and Biochemistry at Indiana University. He subsequently joined the MD/PhD program at Washington University School of Medicine. During his graduate work in the laboratory of Joseph St. Geme, III, Dr. Surana studied mechanisms of protein secretion in gram-negative bacteria. He completed his pediatric residency and fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2010, Dr. Surana joined the laboratory of Dennis Kasper in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School to study the interactions between the microbiota and the host immune system. He joined the faculty of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2012.

Researcher Services

Researcher Areas

  • Immunology
  • Microbiota

Research Departments

Research Divisions


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. Surana NK, Kasper DL. Erratum: Moving beyond microbiome-wide associations to causal microbe identification. Nature. 2018 02 15; 554(7692):392. View abstract
  2. Surana NK, Kasper DL. Moving beyond microbiome-wide associations to causal microbe identification. Nature. 2017 12 14; 552(7684):244-247. View abstract
  3. Stefan KL, Fink A, Surana NK, Kasper DL, Dasgupta S. Type I interferon signaling restrains IL-10R+ colonic macrophages and dendritic cells and leads to more severe Salmonella colitis. PLoS One. 2017; 12(11):e0188600. View abstract
  4. Mehrotra P, Quinonez LG, Surana NK, Pollock N, Sandora TJ. Clinical Utility of Preimplantation Homograft Cultures in Patients Undergoing Congenital Cardiac Surgery. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2017 Jun 01; 6(2):202-204. View abstract
  5. Olszewski AE, Karandikar MV, Surana NK. Aeromonas as a Cause of Purulent Folliculitis: A Case Report and Review of the Literature. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2017 Mar 01; 6(1):e1-e3. View abstract
  6. Kugadas A, Christiansen SH, Sankaranarayanan S, Surana NK, Gauguet S, Kunz R, Fichorova R, Vorup-Jensen T, Gadjeva M. Impact of Microbiota on Resistance to Ocular Pseudomonas aeruginosa-Induced Keratitis. PLoS Pathog. 2016 Sep; 12(9):e1005855. View abstract
  7. Couter CJ, Surana NK. Isolation and Flow Cytometric Characterization of Murine Small Intestinal Lymphocytes. J Vis Exp. 2016 05 08; (111). View abstract
  8. Gauguet S, D'Ortona S, Ahnger-Pier K, Duan B, Surana NK, Lu R, Cywes-Bentley C, Gadjeva M, Shan Q, Priebe GP, Pier GB. Intestinal Microbiota of Mice Influences Resistance to Staphylococcus aureus Pneumonia. Infect Immun. 2015 Oct; 83(10):4003-14. View abstract
  9. Surana NK, Kasper DL. Deciphering the tête-à-tête between the microbiota and the immune system. J Clin Invest. 2014 Oct; 124(10):4197-203. View abstract
  10. Chen VL, Surana NK, Duan J, Kasper DL. Role of murine intestinal interleukin-1 receptor 1-expressing lymphoid tissue inducer-like cells in Salmonella infection. PLoS One. 2013; 8(6):e65405. View abstract
  11. Chung H, Pamp SJ, Hill JA, Surana NK, Edelman SM, Troy EB, Reading NC, Villablanca EJ, Wang S, Mora JR, Umesaki Y, Mathis D, Benoist C, Relman DA, Kasper DL. Gut immune maturation depends on colonization with a host-specific microbiota. Cell. 2012 Jun 22; 149(7):1578-93. View abstract
  12. Surana NK, Kasper DL. The yin yang of bacterial polysaccharides: lessons learned from B. fragilis PSA. Immunol Rev. 2012 Jan; 245(1):13-26. View abstract
  13. Cotter SE, Surana NK, Grass S, St Geme JW. Trimeric autotransporters require trimerization of the passenger domain for stability and adhesive activity. J Bacteriol. 2006 Aug; 188(15):5400-7. View abstract
  14. Meng G, Surana NK, St Geme JW, Waksman G. Structure of the outer membrane translocator domain of the Haemophilus influenzae Hia trimeric autotransporter. EMBO J. 2006 Jun 07; 25(11):2297-304. View abstract
  15. Surana NK, Buscher AZ, Hardy GG, Grass S, Kehl-Fie T, St Geme JW. Translocator proteins in the two-partner secretion family have multiple domains. J Biol Chem. 2006 Jun 30; 281(26):18051-8. View abstract
  16. Cotter SE, Surana NK, St Geme JW. Trimeric autotransporters: a distinct subfamily of autotransporter proteins. Trends Microbiol. 2005 May; 13(5):199-205. View abstract
  17. Surana NK, St Geme JW. Lymphangitis after self-administration of lipopolysaccharide. N Engl J Med. 2005 03 03; 352(9):944-5. View abstract
  18. Surana NK, Grass S, Hardy GG, Li H, Thanassi DG, Geme JW. Evidence for conservation of architecture and physical properties of Omp85-like proteins throughout evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Oct 05; 101(40):14497-502. View abstract
  19. Surana NK, Cutter D, Barenkamp SJ, St Geme JW. The Haemophilus influenzae Hia autotransporter contains an unusually short trimeric translocator domain. J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 09; 279(15):14679-85. View abstract
  20. Matsumura I, Wallingford JB, Surana NK, Vize PD, Ellington AD. Directed evolution of the surface chemistry of the reporter enzyme beta-glucuronidase. Nat Biotechnol. 1999 Jul; 17(7):696-701. View abstract