Meet the PI

Kim Orth

Kim Orth, Ph.D.

Kim Orth is a Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and is an Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is a W. W. Caruth, Jr. Scholar in Biomedical Research and holds the Earl A. Forsythe Chair in Biomedical Science.

The Orth Lab is interested in elucidation the activity of virulence factors from pathogenic bacteria so that we can gain novel molecular insight into eukaryotic signaling systems. They have discovered novel chemistry, including Ser/Thr acetylation and AMPylation, used by bacterial virulence factors to manipulate the host cell signaling. In some cases, they found the eukaryotic host also uses these novel mechanisms.

The marine bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the worldwide leading cause of seafood-borne acute gastroenteritis. The Orth Lab is working on the two V. parahaemolyticus type 3 secretion systems (T3SS1 and T3SS2) and their bacterial effectors to understand how signaling systems in the eukaryotic host can be manipulated by these bacterial pathogens. For decades, this pathogen has been studied exclusively as an extracellular bacterium. However, recent studies from our lab have revealed the pathogen’s ability to invade and replicate within host cells using the second T3SS2. New host mechanisms that are exploited by this bacterium to survive and escape. Work in the Orth Lab at UT Southwestern is accomplished using a broad range of tools, including biochemistry, molecular microbiology, protein chemistry, structural biology, yeast genetics, cell biology, biophysics and more.

Below is brief summary of my life adventures and life lessons.

HHMI Kim Orth, PhD

My winding trail while fulfilling my love for science and family. - PubMed - NCBI

Recent Awards for Dr. Orth include:

  • 2022   Celebrating Women Wall, UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • 2022   Elected Fellow, ASBMB
  • 2022   Elected, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2021-2023   American Society of Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer
  • 2020   Member, The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas
  • 2020    Elected, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2019    Nirit and Michael Shaoul Visiting Scholar, Tel Aviv University
  • 2018    ASBMB Merck Award
  • 2016-2020   Once Upon a Time Foundation Award
  • 2016    Elected, American Academy of Microbiology
  • 2013-present   Earl A. Forsythe Chair in Biomedical Science
  • 2012    ASBMB Young Investigator Award
  • 2011    TAMEST; 2011 Edith & Peter O’Donnell Award in Science
  • 2010    Welch Foundation Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Science
  • 2006-2011    Burroughs Wellcome Investigator in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease
  • 2003-2006    Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award
  • 2001-present   W.W. Caruth, Jr. Scholar in Biomedical Research, UTSWMC