Rebecca Lamason

Rebecca Lamason

Robert A. Swanson Career Development Professor

Rebecca Lamason investigates what happens when cellular functions are hijacked by unwanted interlopers: namely, the bacteria that engender diseases like spotted fever and meningitis.





Gina Lee



Assistant Phone


  • PhD, 2011, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • BS, 2002, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Millersville University

Research Summary

In the Lamason lab, we investigate how intracellular bacterial pathogens hijack host cell processes to promote infection. In particular, we study how Rickettsia parkeri and Listeria monocytogenes move through our tissues via a process called cell-to-cell spread. We utilize cellular, molecular, genetic, biochemical and biophysical approaches to elucidate the mechanisms of spread in order to reveal key aspects of pathogenesis and host cell biology.


  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award, 2015

Recent Publications

  1. The enigmatic biology of rickettsiae: recent advances, open questions and outlook. McGinn, J, Lamason, RL. 2021. Pathog Dis 79, .
    doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftab019PMID:33784388
  2. RNAi screen reveals a role for PACSIN2 and caveolins during bacterial cell-to-cell spread. Sanderlin, AG, Vondrak, C, Scricco, AJ, Fedrigo, I, Ahyong, V, Lamason, RL. 2019. Mol Biol Cell 30, 2124-2133.
    doi: 10.1091/mbc.E19-04-0197PMID:31242077
  3. A streamlined method for transposon mutagenesis of Rickettsia parkeri yields numerous mutations that impact infection. Lamason, RL, Kafai, NM, Welch, MD. 2018. PLoS One 13, e0197012.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197012PMID:29723287
  4. Actin-based motility and cell-to-cell spread of bacterial pathogens. Lamason, RL, Welch, MD. 2017. Curr Opin Microbiol 35, 48-57.
    doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2016.11.007PMID:27997855
  5. Rickettsia Sca4 Reduces Vinculin-Mediated Intercellular Tension to Promote Spread. Lamason, RL, Bastounis, E, Kafai, NM, Serrano, R, Del Álamo, JC, Theriot, JA, Welch, MD. 2016. Cell 167, 670-683.e10.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.09.023PMID:27768890
  6. Rickettsia actin-based motility occurs in distinct phases mediated by different actin nucleators. Reed, SCO, Lamason, RL, Risca, VI, Abernathy, E, Welch, MD. 2014. Curr Biol 24, 98-103.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.11.025PMID:24361066
  7. Expression of an epitope-tagged virulence protein in Rickettsia parkeri using transposon insertion. Welch, MD, Reed, SC, Lamason, RL, Serio, AW. 2012. PLoS One 7, e37310.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037310PMID:22624012
  8. The dynamic distribution of CARD11 at the immunological synapse is regulated by the inhibitory kinesin GAKIN. Lamason, RL, Kupfer, A, Pomerantz, JL. 2010. Mol Cell 40, 798-809.
    doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2010.11.007PMID:21145487
  9. Oncogenic CARD11 mutations induce hyperactive signaling by disrupting autoinhibition by the PKC-responsive inhibitory domain. Lamason, RL, McCully, RR, Lew, SM, Pomerantz, JL. 2010. Biochemistry 49, 8240-50.
    doi: 10.1021/bi101052dPMID:20799731
  10. Transcriptional target-based expression cloning of immunoregulatory molecules. Lamason, RL, Lew, SM, Pomerantz, JL. 2010. Immunol Res 47, 172-8.
    doi: 10.1007/s12026-009-8148-zPMID:20069388
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