William H. DePas, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Administrative Assistant: Colleen Kelly

William DePas, PhD, earned his BS in Microbiology from Michigan State University in 2008 and his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Michigan in 2014. As a Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, he worked on developing and utilizing novel imaging techniques to better understand the infection environment, specifically investigating the role of bacterial biofilm formation during chronic infections in CF. DePas joined the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases as an assistant professor in 2019. 

Education & Training

  • BS, Michigan State University, 2008
  • PhD, University of Michigan, 2014

Selected Publications

Appledorn DM, Aldhamen YA, DePas W, Seregin SS, Liu CJ, Schuldt N, Quach D, Quiroga D, Godbehere S, Zlatkin I, Kim S, McCormick JJ, Amalfitano A. (2010) A new adenovirus based vaccine vector expressing an Eimeria tenella derived TLR agonist improves cellular immune responces to an antigentic target. PLoS One. Mar 8;5 (3):e9579

DePas WH, Hufnagel DA, Lee JS, Blanco LP, Berstein HC, Fisher ST, James GA, Stewart PS, Chapman MR. (2013) Iron induces bimodal population development by Escherichia coli. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110:2629-2634.

Academic and Research Interests

The DePas lab is focused on developing a clear picture of the biogeography of infection sites, determining how the spatial structure impacts bacterial activity and interactions with host cells, and recapitulating important aspects of the infection environment in vitro in order to gain an in-depth understanding of cellular processes that are relevant to pathogenesis. To achieve these goals, we utilize MiPACT-HCR, a tissue-clearing and cellular visualization technique that allows for 3D imaging of fixed tissue samples, along with in vitro techniques to characterize the formation and dispersal of bacterial biofilms in conditions that mimic the in vivo environment. We are chiefly interested in nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), emerging pathogens that are particularly problematic for patients with CF. By applying our described methodology, we are working to determine the context in which NTM form biofilms during infection and how biofilm formation contributes to disease severity.