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Faculty Image Ralph Judd
Phone: (406) 243-2347


Field Of Study:

Bacterial pathogenesis, immunology

Research Interests:

Our laboratory studies the causative agents of gonorrhea, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and meningitis, Neisseria meningitidis. The long-term goal of our investigations is to develop vaccines to prevent infection and disease. We also study a variety of physiological, pathogenic and immunological phenomena which relate to the ability of these pathogens to cause disease.

We developed procedures to identify, isolate and characterize outer membrane proteins and the genes which encode these proteins. We seek to identify regions (epitopes) of these proteins that elicit protective immune responses for use as vaccines. This is accomplished by first generating recombinant hyper-expression clones of overlapping fragments of the gene producing overlapping peptide fragments of the outer membrane protein. Then, peptide fragments of the protein are used to generate antisera that are used in a variety of assays (bactericidal, cell adherence, immuno-electron microscopy and animal protection assays) to locate essential regions of the protein that may be valuable as vaccine molecules.

Currently, we are focusing our efforts on an 85,000 outer membrane protein (Omp85) that is universally expressed in an invariant form both Neisserial species. This protein was identified by screening genomic libraries with antisera raised against isolated, purified outer membranes. Our expertise in the growth, phenotypic selection, harvesting and isolation of subcellular components, of Neisseria is unique in the field. Our application of genetic approaches to identification of valuable epitopes, combined with our expertise in a variety of bioassays, are valuable tools to develop vaccines to prevent gonorrhea and meningitis.


MICB 302 - Medical Microbiology


B.A. Whitman College, 1972
M.S. University of Montana, 1974
Ph.D. University of Montana, 1979

Selected Publications:

Manning, D.S., Reschke, D.K. and R.C. Judd. 1998. Omp85 proteins of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria meningitidis are similar to Haemophilus influenzae D-15-Ag and Pasteurella multocida Oma87. Micro. Path. 25: 11-21

Shell, D. M., L. Chiles, R. C. Judd, S. Seal, and R. F. Rest. 2002. The Neisserial lipooligosaccharide-specific alpha-2,3-sialyltransferase is a surface-exposed outer membrane protein. Infect. Immun. 70:3744-3751

Skaar, E. P., D. M. Tobiason, J. Quick, R. C. Judd, H. Weissbach, F. Etienne, N. Brot, and H. S. Seifert. 2002. The outer membrane localization of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae MsrA/B is involved in survival against reactive oxygen species. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 99:10108-10113