Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Kimberly M. Brothers, PhD

  • Research Assistant Professor

Education & Training

  • MS, Immunology and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
  • PhD, Biomedical Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Representative Publications

Brothers KM, Stella NA, Hunt KM, Romanowski EG, Liu X, Klarlund JK, Shanks RM. Putting on the brakes: Bacterial impediment of wound healing. Sci Rep. 2015 PMC4650533

Brothers KM, Stella NA, Romanowski EG, Kowalski RP, Shanks RM. EepR Mediates Secreted-Protein Production, Desiccation Survival, and Proliferation in a Corneal Infection Model. Infect Immun. 2015 PMC4598396

Brothers KM, Kowalski RP, Tian S, Kinchington PR, Shanks RM. Bacteria induce autophagy in a human ocular surface cell line. Exp Eye Res. 2018 PMC5826873

Brothers KM, Callaghan JD, Stella NA, Bachinsky JM, AlHigaylan M, Lehner KL, Franks JM, Lathrop KL, Collins E, Schmitt DM, Horzempa J, Shanks RM. Blowing epithelial cell bubbles with GumB: ShlA-family pore-forming toxins induce blebbing and rapid cellular death in corneal epithelial cells. PLoS Pathog. 2019 PMC6586354

Brothers KM, Newman ZR, Wheeler RT. Live imaging of disseminated candidiasis in zebrafish reveals role of phagocyte oxidase in limiting filamentous growth.  Eukaryot Cell. 2011 Jul: 10 (7): 932-944 PMC3147414

Brothers, KM, and Wheeler, RT. Non-invasive imaging of disseminated candidiasis in zebrafish larvae. J Vis Exp. 2012 Jul 30;(65) PMC3468152

Brothers, KM, Gratacap RL, Barker SE, Newman ZR, Norum A, and Wheeler, R.T. NADPH oxidase-driven phagocyte recruitment controls Candida albicans filamentous growth and prevents mortality. PLoS Pathog. 2013 PMC3789746

PubMed Link

Research Interests

My work focuses on understanding how microbes manipulate the immune system and overcome therapeutic treatment strategies. I focus on the pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus because it is the primary organism associated with surgical implant infections. Biofilm antibiotic tolerance is a phenotype where bacteria in biofilms are extremely tolerant to antibiotics. This is of clinical importance because this phenotype is associated with chronic infections that often result in removal of the device and severe morbidity and mortality. It is my immediate goal to determine the mechanism of S. aureus biofilm antibiotic tolerance in allograft infections. My broader goal is to provide a better understanding of how humans respond to bacterial infection and the fundamental mechanisms by which bacteria manipulate the host to enable infection.

Research Grants

Title:  Evaluation of hyaluronic acid inserts on corneal wound healing (PI, 10%)
Dates:  8/1/17-7/31/18
Sponsor:  Novartis, Pharma

Title:  Impediment of corneal cell migration by a bacterial factor (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Dates:  2015-2017
Sponsor:  NIH/NEI

Title:  Ophthalmology Visual Sciences (Postdoctoral Trainee)
Dates:  2014-2015
Sponsor:  NIH/NEI

Title:  Non-invasive imaging in a zebrafish model of candidemia (Predoctoral Trainee)
Dates:  2010-2012
Sponsor:  MAFES