June Round, PhD

Research Interests

  • Immunology
  • Microbial Pathogenesis


Lab Website


  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Pathology - Associate Professor
  • Divisions: Microbiology and Immunology

Academic Office Information

  • 801-213-4164
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute
    2000 Circle of Hope, Room: Rm 5242
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Email: june.round@path.utah.edu

Research Statement

The mammalian immune system is charged with the task of recognizing microbial molecules and subsequently coordinating pathogen clearance. However, humans are host to a multitude of symbiotic microorganisms called the microbiota. This diverse consortium of bacteria take up residence on almost all environmentally exposed surfaces of the body, with the greatest diversity and number of organisms residing within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Since both pathogenic and commensal microorganisms share similar molecular patterns, it remains unclear how host immune responses toward symbiotic bacteria are prevented. Diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, (IBD) result from a loss of host tolerance to commensal bacteria, thus understanding the mechanisms by which the host tolerates the microbiota and in turn how the microbiota influences the host immune system is paramount toward gaining a deeper understanding of mucosal biology and developing therapies for the treatment of intestinal disease.

Interests in the lab include 1) Understanding how T cell intrinsic Toll like receptor (TLRs) signaling governs T cell responses and how this impacts host tolerance toward the microbiota. 2) Identification and characterization of novel host genes within mucosal T cells regulated by the microbiota. 3) Understand how specific commensal organisms are able to regulate the host adaptive immune system and impact disease states.

In an effort to understand how commensal micro-organisms shape host immune responses we have focused our investigations on a prominent human commensal organism, Bacteriodes fragilis. We use animals raised in a completely sterile environment (called germ-free mice) as a model host organism. In this way we can associate the animals with a single species of bacteria and determine how these organisms are able to influence host immune system development. We have shown that animals colonized with B.fragilis are protected from inflammatory bowel disease. We have identified the molecule made by B.fragilis responsible for its protective activity and identified the host receptor that recognizes this molecule. Not only is this pathway important for host protection from disease but it is also plays a role in bacterial colonization. Thus we have uncovered a symbiotic communication circuit between host and bacteria that provides benefits to both members. Discovery of other pathways that exist between host and bacteria may lead to the discovery of bacterial products that could ultimately be used as therapies to treat human disease.

Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Fellowship California Institute of Technology
Laboratory of Sarkis K. Mazmanian
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training University of California at Los Angeles
Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics
Graduate Training University of the Pacific
Molecular Biology
Undergraduate California Lutheran University
Biology, (Cum Laude)

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Yeung F, Chen YH, Lin JD, Leung JM, McCauley C, Devlin JC, Hansen C, Cronkite A, Stephens Z, Drake-Dunn C, Fulmer Y, Shopsin B, Ruggles KV, Round JL, Loke P, Graham AL, Cadwell K (2020). Altered Immunity of Laboratory Mice in the Natural Environment Is Associated with Fungal Colonization. Cell Host Microbe, 27(5), 809-822.e6.
  2. Ekiz HA, Ramstead AG, Lee SH, Nelson MC, Bauer KM, Wallace JA, Hu R, Round JL, Rutter J, Drummond MJ, Rao DS, OConnell RM (2020). T Cell-Expressed microRNA-155 Reduces Lifespan in a Mouse Model of Age-Related Chronic Inflammation. J Immunol, 204(8), 2064-2075.
  3. Ramstead AG, Wallace JA, Lee SH, Bauer KM, Tang WW, Ekiz HA, Lane TE, Cluntun AA, Bettini ML, Round JL, Rutter J, OConnell RM (2018). Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier 1 Promotes Peripheral T Cell Homeostasis through Metabolic Regulation of Thymic Development. Cell Rep, 30(9), 2889-2899.e6.
  4. Petersen C, Bell R, Klag KA, Lee SH, Soto R, Ghazaryan A, Buhrke K, Ekiz HA, Ost KS, Boudina S, OConnell RM, Cox JE, Villanueva CJ, Stephens WZ, Round JL (2018). T cell-mediated regulation of the microbiota protects against obesity. Science, 365(6451).
  5. Brown DG, Soto R, Yandamuri S, Stone C, Dickey L, Gomes-Neto JC, Pastuzyn ED, Bell R, Petersen C, Buhrke K, Fujinami RS, OConnell RM, Stephens WZ, Shepherd JD, Lane TE, Round JL (2019). The microbiota protects from viral-induced neurologic damage through microglia-intrinsic TLR signaling. eLife, 8.
  6. Khan MAW, Stephens WZ, Mohammed AD, Round JL, Kubinak JL (2019). Does MHC heterozygosity influence microbiota form and function? PLoS ONE, 14(5), e0215946.
  7. Ekiz HA, Huffaker TB, Grossmann AH, Stephens WZ, Williams MA, Round JL, OConnell RM (2019). MicroRNA-155 coordinates the immunological landscape within murine melanoma and correlates with immunity in human cancers. JCI Insight, 4(6).
  8. Runtsch MC, Nelson MC, Lee SH, Voth W, Alexander M, Hu R, Wallace J, Petersen C, Panic V, Villanueva CJ, Evason KJ, Bauer KM, Mosbruger T, Boudina S, Bronner M, Round JL, Drummond MJ, OConnell RM (2019). Anti-inflammatory microRNA-146a protects mice from diet-induced metabolic disease. PLoS Genet, 15(2), e1007970.
  9. Gogokhia L, Buhrke K, Bell R, Hoffman B, Brown DG, Hanke-Gogokhia C, Ajami NJ, Wong MC, Ghazaryan A, Valentine JF, Porter N, Martens E, OConnell R, Jacob V, Scherl E, Crawford C, Stephens WZ, Casjens SR, Longman RS, Round JL (2018). Expansion of Bacteriophages Is Linked to Aggravated Intestinal Inflammation and Colitis. Cell Host Microbe, 25(2), 285-299.e8.
  10. Chiaro TR, Round JL (2019). Fiber Puts Lactobacillus to SLEep. Cell Host Microbe, 25(1), 3-5.
  11. Holowatyj A, Stephens W, Warby C, Buhrke K, Gigic B, Lin T, Boehm J, Habermann N, Herpel E, Ose J, Schneider M, Schrotz-King P, Schirmacher P, Ulrich A, Toriola A, Round J, Ulrich C (2020). Gut microbial community diversity is associated with systemic vascular endothelial growth factor A levels among colorectal cancer patients. Ann Oncol, 29 Suppl 5, v91.
  12. Soto R, Round J (2016). Immunology: You Remind Me of a Microbe I Know. Curr Biol, 26(9), R373-6.
  13. Hu R, Huffaker TB, Kagele DA, Runtsch MC, Bake E, Chaudhuri AA, Round JL, OConnell RM (2013). MicroRNA-155 confers encephalogenic potential to Th17 cells by promoting effector gene expression. J Immunol, 190(12), 5972-80.


  1. Round J (2011). Antigen specific Tregs and specific and related compositions, methods and systems. U.S. Patent No. 20110287048. Washington, D.C.:U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  2. Round J (2010). Methods and Systems for identifying immunomodulatory substances. U.S. Patent No. 20100275282. Washington, D.C.:U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.