Gerard A. Cangelosi, PhD

Professor, Env. and Occ. Health Sciences (Primary department)
Adjunct Professor, Epidemiology
Adjunct Professor, Global Health
Dr. Cangelosi works on infectious diseases, especially in the areas of molecular diagnostics, pathogen detection, and exposure/transmission. His work in both public and private sectors has generated 10 patents, 2 product launches, 1 start-up company launch, and over 80 publications. These projects have addressed tuberculosis and related diseases, waterborne pathogens, enteric disease, and hospital acquired infections. Recent accomplishments include the development of a novel, oral swab-based tuberculosis case finding approach, new molecular viability testing methods, and new semi-synthetic affinity reagents for molecular diagnostic testing.

Contact Information

University of Washington
Office: Suite 100
Box: 354695
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
Seattle, WA 98195-9472
Tel: 206-543-2005

Research Interests

  • Reduced exposure to infectious diseases. Improved tuberculosis case finding and transmission control. Improved detection of pathogens in food and water. Improved understanding of infectious disease exposure and epidemiology.


PhD, Microbiology, University of California (Davis), 1984


Tuberculosis biomarkers and diagnosis. In collaboration with research and clinical partners in Washington, California, Kenya, and South Africa, we are working to identify biomarkers of active TB and to develop improved point-of-care tools for detecting TB biomarkers in patient samples.

Molecular detection of pathogens in environmental and clinical samples. As a method for detecting microorganisms in samples, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is fast, sensitive, and specific. However, it is unable to distinguish viable pathogen cells from dead cells and free nucleic acid fragments. We have shown that PCR tests for ribosomal RNA precursors (pre-rRNA) can overcome this problem. In collaboration with a Seattle-based commercial licensee, AttoDx, Inc, we are developing pre-rRNA tests for pathogen detection in environmental as well as clinical samples.

Improved affinity reagents (molecular probes) for infectious disease diagnosis. High-throughput methods are being developed to generate novel antibody-like "probes" for pathogen molecules in patient and environmental samples. In an NIH-funded project entitled "Accelerated Molecular Probe Pipeline," these methods are being used to identify new biomarkers of intestinal amoeba infections. The project is an international collaboration with partners in Washington, Virginia, Australia, and Bangladesh.

Understanding human exposure to tuberculosis and related diseases. Transmission and exposure are among the most poorly understood aspects of bacterial disease. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a globally important microbial pathogen, and related environmental mycobacteria are useful models for understanding how infectious diseases emerge and spread. Molecular and epidemiological methods are being used to characterize the host, pathogen, and environmental factors involved in the acquisition of mycobacterial infections.
Selected Publications

Weigel KM, Nguyen FK, Kearney MR, Meschke JS, Cangelosi GA (2017).  Molecular Viability Testing of UV-Inactivated Bacteria. Appl Environ Microbiol. 83(10). PMC5411506.

Spadafora LJ, Nguyen F, Siddique A, Ali IK, Gilchrist CA, Arju T, Hoffstrom B, Petri WA, Haque R, and Cangelosi GA (2016). Species-specific immunodetection of an Entamoeba histolytica cyst wall protein. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 10(5):e0004697.  PMID: 27152855.

Ferguson TM, Weigel KM, Becker AL, Ontengco D, Narita M, Tolstorukov I, Doebler R, Cangelosi GA, and Niemz A (2016). Pilot evaluation of a rapid and minimally instrumented sputum sample preparation system for molecular diagnosis of tuberculosis. Scientific Reports. 2016 Jan 20;6:19541. PMID: 26785769

Wood RC, Luabeya AK, Weigel KM, Wilbur AK, Jones-Engel L, Hatherill M, and Cangelosi GA (2015). Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA in the oral mucosa of tuberculosis patients. Scientific Reports 5:8688 . PMID: 25727773

Cangelosi GA and Meschke JS (2014). Dead or alive: Molecular assessment of microbial viability. Appl Env Microbiol 80(19):5884-5891. PMID: 25038100
Grewal YS, Shiddiky MJ, Spadafora LJ, Cangelosi GA, Trau M (2014). Nano-yeast-scFv probes on screen-printed gold electrodes for detection of Entamoeba histolytica antigens in a biological matrix. Biosens Bioelectron. 55:417-22. PMID: 24434498

Dirac MA, Horan KL, Doody DR, Meschke JS, Park DR, Jackson LA, Weiss NS, Winthrop KL, Cangelosi GA (2012). Environment or host?:  A case-control study of risk factors for Mycobacterium avium complex lung disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 186(7):684-91. PMID: 22859521

Kim JH, Yeo WH, Shu ZQ, Soelberg SD, Inoue S, Kalyanasundaram D, Ludwig J, Furlong CE, Riley J, Weigel K, Cangelosi GA, Oh K, Lee KH, Gao D, and Chung JH (2012). Immunosensor toward low-cast, rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis. Lab on a Chip. 2012 Apr 21;12(8):1437-40. Epub 2012. PMID: 22395572

Ali IK, Haque R, Siddique A, Kabir M, Sherman NE, Gray SA, Cangelosi GA, and Petri WA Jr. (2012). Proteomic analysis of the cyst stage of Entamoeba histolytica. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2012 May;6(5):e1643. Epub 2012 PMID: 22590659

Cangelosi, G. A., K. M. Weigel, C. Lefthand-Begay, and J. S. Meschke. (2010). Molecular detection of viable bacterial pathogens in water by ratiometric pre-rRNA analysis. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 76:960-962. PMID: 19948855 PMCID: PMC2812999

Review date: