Steven Rutherford, Ph.D.

Genentech South San Francisco, CA

Candidate for the Council on Microbial Sciences
Scientist, Genentech, South San Francisco, CA
  • Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Wisconsin (2008)
  • B.A., Microbiology, Miami University (2002)
Professional Experience:
  • Scientist, Department of Infectious Diseases, Genentech (2013-present)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University (2008-2013)
ASM Activities:
  • Member, ASM
  • Presenter at ASM meetings
  • Ad hoc reviewer for ASM journals
  1. Storek, Chan, Vij, Chiang, Lin, Bevers, Koth, Vernes, Meng, Yin, Wallweber, Dalmas, Shriver, Tam, Schneider, Seshasayee, Nakamura, Smith, Payandeh, Koerber, Comps-Agrar, Rutherford. 2019. eLife 8:e46258. doi:10.7554/eLife.46258.
  2. Storek, Vij, Sun, Smith, Koerber, Rutherford. 2019. J Bacteriol 201:e00517-18. doi:10.1128/JB.00517-18.
  3. Vij, Lin, Chiang, Vernes, Storek, Park, Chan, Meng, Comps-Agrar, Luan, Lee, Schneider, Zilberleyb, Tam, Koth, Xu, Gill, Auerbach, Smith, Rutherford, Nakamura, Seshasayee, Payandeh, Koerber. 2018. Sci Rep 8:7136. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-25609-z.
  4. Storek, Auerbach, Shi, Garcia, Sun, Nickerson, Vij, Lin, Chian, Schneider, Wecksler, Skippington, Nakamura, Seshasayee, Koerber, Payandeh, Smith, Rutherford. 2018. PNAS 115:3692. doi:10.1073/pnas.1800043115.
  5. Nickerson, Jao, Xu, Quinn, Skippington, Alexander, Miu, Skelton, Hankins, Lopez, Koth, Rutherford, Nishiyama. 2018. Antimicrob AgentsChemother 62:e02151-17. doi:10.1128/AAC.02151-17.
  6. Rutherford, Valastyan, Taillefumier, Callan, Wingreen, Bassler. 2015. PNAS 112:E6038. doi:10.1073/pnas.1518958112.
  7. Feng, Rutherford, Papenfort, Bagert, van Kessel, Tirrell, Wingreen, Bassler. 2015. Cell 160:228. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.051.
  8. van Kessel, Rutherford, Cong, Quinodoz, Healy, Bassler. 2015. J Bacteriol 197:73. doi:10.1128/JB.02246-14.
  9. Shao, Feng, Rutherford, Papenfort, Bassler. 2013. EMBO J 32:2158. doi:10.1038/emboj.2013.155.
  10. van Kessel, Rutherford, Shao, Utria, Bassler. 2013. J Bacteriol 195:436. doi:10.1128/JB.01998-12.
  11. Rutherford, Bassler. 2012. In Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med, Cossart and Maloy (eds). Cold Spring Harbor Press 2:a012427. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a012427.
  12. Lennon, Ross, Martin-Tumasz, Toulokhonov, Vrentas, Rutherford, Lee, Butcher, Gourse. 2012. Genes Dev 26:2634. doi:10.1101/gad.204693.112.
  13. Rutherford, van Kessel, Shao, Bassler. 2011. Genes Dev 25:397. doi:10.1101/gad.2015011.
  14. Rutherford, Villers, Lee, Ross, Gourse. 2009. Genes Dev 23:236. doi:10.1101/gad.1745409.
  15. Lamour, Rutherford, Kuznedelov, Ramagopal, Gourse, Severinov, Darst. 2008. J Mol Biol 383:367. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2008.08.011.
  16. Vrentas, Gaal, Berkmen, Rutherford, Haugen, Ross, Gourse. 2008. J Mol Biol 377:551. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2008.01.042.
  17. Rutherford, Lemke, Vrentas, Gaal, Ross, Gourse. 2007. J Mol Biol 366:1243. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2006.12.013.
  18. Mallik, Paul, Rutherford, Gourse, Osuna. 2006. J Bacteriol 188:5775. doi:10.1128/JB.00276-06.
  19. Gourse, Ross, Rutherford. 2006. J Bacteriol 188:4589. doi:10.1128/JB.00499-06.
  20. Castrillo, Rutherford, Lee, Lee. 2001. Biol Control 21:27. doi:10.1006/bcon.2000.0915.
  21. Castrillo, Lee, Wyman, Lee, Rutherford. 2001. Biol Control 21:11. doi:10.1006/bcon.2000.0913.
  22. Castrillo, Lee, Lee, Rutherford. 2000. J Econ Entomol 93:226. doi:10.1603/0022-0493-93.2.226.
Research Interests:
I am a Scientist in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Genentech with a goal of identifying and validating novel antibacterial targets in pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. My group focusses on the outer membrane, a unique asymmetrical permeability barrier that prevents the access of many antibiotics to their targets inside the cell. We are most interested in the roles of the extracellular loops for the activities of the two essential outer membrane proteins, BamA and LptD. By targeting these exposed loops, an inhibitor would not have to access the inside of the cell and would also avoid efflux. Using antibodies and genetics, we have identified critical targets on both of these proteins. Previously, I studied molecular mechanisms of transcription initiation regulation, ice-nucleating active bacteria, and quorum-sensing regulatory networks that control bacterial cell-cell communication.

My name is Steven Rutherford and I would like to be considered for a position on the ASM Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS). I currently lead a research group in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Genentech in South San Francisco, California. My team aims to identify and validate novel antibacterial targets in antibiotic-resistant, pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. We focus on the outer membrane, a unique asymmetrical permeability barrier that prevents the access of many antibiotics to their targets inside the cell.
At different points in my career, I have been involved in basic microbiology research and applied antibacterial discovery in both academic and industrial laboratory settings. One underlying commonality in all of these experiences has been the role played by ASM. In addition to being a member since my first year as an undergraduate student, I have regularly attended and presented my research at ASM meetings. I have also published my work and reviewed the research of others for multiple ASM journals. ASM has enriched my development as a microbiologist by fostering a community that establishes scientific discourse among microbiologists as well as providing a platform through which to share my science with the research community and society in general. Over the years, I have received much from ASM and now desire a more official opportunity to support its ongoing mission.
My entire professional life has been in line with ASM’s mission to promote and advance microbial sciences. My experiences, both as a laboratory researcher, a lab head, and a public advocate for microbiology, have been diverse and I think my perspective could be a useful addition to the ASM COMS. The study of microorganisms is critical due to their impact on human health, but also, they provide insight into biological processes fundamental to all life. It is only by continuing to push the limits of scientific creativity and rigor in our research that we will be able to unlock all of the benefits that microbes can provide and develop new, innovative medicines to combat diseases.
A strong, rich, and open scientific community that encourages the exchange of information, fosters sharing, and provides opportunities for researchers to learn from one another, such as the one guided by ASM, accelerates these efforts. Finding and defining the best new ways to disseminate information both within ASM and between ASM and society are key future needs. This is especially urgent today as certain groups attempt to blur the definitions of ‘data’, ‘facts’, and ‘science’ to benefit particular individuals and institutions. I see ASM as a key advocate for the power of science and one that can set an example for the scientific community. In any way possible, I would like to be a part of the discussion and provide my ideas and views on how to address current and future issues. I would gladly serve on the ASM COMS if given the opportunity.

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