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Catherine S. Branda, Ph.D.
I am a member of a multidisciplinary research team at SNL studying the innate immune response to pathogen infection. Innate immunity is our first line of response to microbial invasion, and subversion of innate immunity is a common strategy used by many pathogens, especially the emerging ones. The toll-like receptors (TLRs) are key sentries which recognize molecular signatures characteristic of pathogens; TLR3, for example, recognizes double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) indicative of viral infection, whereas TLR4 recognizes lipopolysaccharide (LPS) indicative of bacterial infection. Our current focus is on the activation and repression of TLR4 signaling in macrophages during infection by the bacterial pathogens Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis. Through development of a novel experimental device capable of high-throughput, high-resolution interrogation of single cells, we hope to greatly improve our molecular-level understanding of innate immunity and contribute to the effort to generate new diagnostics and therapeutics.

Recent Publications

Branda, C.S. and Dymecki, S.M. (2004) "Talking about a revolution: The impact of site-specific recombinases on genetic analyses in mice." Dev. Cell 6:7-28.

Goodman, S. J., Branda, C. S., Robinson, M. K., Burdine, R. D. and Stern, M. J. (2003) "Alternative splicing affecting a novel domain in the C. elegans EGL-15 FGF receptor confers functional specificity." Development 130: 3757-3766.

Branda, C.S. and M.J. Stern (2000) "Mechanisms controlling sex myoblast migration in Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodites." Dev. Biol. 226: 137-151.

Branda, C.S. and M.J. Stern (1999) "Cell migration and axon growth cone guidance in Caenorhabditis elegans." Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 9: 479-484.

Burdine, R.D., Branda, C.S. and M.J. Stern (1998) "EGL-17 (FGF) expression coordinates the attraction of the migrating sex myoblasts with vulval induction in C. elegans." Development 126: 1083-1093.

Harfe, B.D., Branda, C.S., Krause, M., Stern, M.J. and A. Fire (1998) "MyoD and the specification of muscle and non-muscle fates during postembryonic development of the C. elegans mesoderm." Development 125: 2479-2488.

Chen, E.B., Branda, C.S. and M.J. Stern (1997) "Genetic enhancers of sem-5 define components of the gonad-independent guidance mechanism controlling sex myoblast migration in Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodites." Dev. Biol. 182:88-100.


2005-present: Postdoctoral Fellow, Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore CA
2003-2005: Fellowship in Clinical Cytogenetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
2001-2005: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston MA


1998-2001: Ph.D., Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
2001: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Course Molecular Embryology of the Mouse
1994-1998: M.Phil., Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
1987-1991: B.A., Cognitive Science, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY

Contact Information

Dr. Catherine S. Branda
Biosystems Research Department
Sandia National Laboratories
MS 9292, PO Box 969
7011 East Avenue
Livermore, CA 94551-0969
phone: 925-294-6833
fax: 925-294-3020