Xingmin Sun

Xingmin Sun
Research Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor (Second appointment)
Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Tufts University

Campus Phone:



  • PhD - University of Kiel, Germany - 2002
  • MSc - Nanjing Agricultural University, China - 1994
  • BSc - Nanjing Agricultural University, China - 1991
  1. Sun, X*. & S. A. Hirota (2014). The roles of host and pathogen factors and the innate immune response in the pathogenesis of Clostridium difficile infection.  Mol Immunol. 2014 Sep 18 [Epub ahead of print]  *Corresponding author
  2. Zhao, S., C. Ghose-Paul, K. Zhang, S. Tzipori, & X. Sun* (2014). Immune-based treatment and prevention of Clostridium difficile infection.  Accepted by Hum Vaccin & Immunother. *Corresponding author
  3. Zhao, S., C. Ghose-Paul, X. Zhu, H. Shen and X. Sun* (2014). Clostridium difficile infection: virulence factors, adaptive immunity and vaccine development.  Austin J Infect Dis. 2014;1(1): 7. *Corresponding author
  4. Sponseller, JK., J. Steele, D. Schmidt, H. Kim, G. Beamer, X. Sun & S Tzipori (2014). Hyperimmune Bovine Colostrum as a Novel Therapy for Clostridium difficile Infection. J Infect Dis. 2014 Nov 7.
  5. Kim, H.B., Q. Zhang, X. Sun, G. Beamer, D. Schmidt, Y. Wang & S. Tzipori (2014). Effect of oral tigecycline treatment on Clostridium difficile and human gut microflora.  Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2014 Sep 29. [Epub ahead of print].
  6. Ali Y, S. Koberg, S. Heβner, X. Sun, B. Rabe, A. Back, H. Neve, K.J. Heller (2014). Temperate Streptococcus thermophilus phages expressing superinfection exclusion proteins of the Ltp type.  Front Microbiol.5: 98
  7. Zhang, J.  X. Rui, L. Wang,  Y. Guan, X. Sun, M.  Dong (2014). Polyphenolic extract from Rosa rugosa tea inhibits bacterial quorum sensing and biofilm formation.  Food Control. 42:125-131.
  8.  Wang Y.K., Q. Zou, J.H. Sun, H. A. Wang, X. Sun, Z. F. Chen, Y. X. Yan (2014).  Screening of ssDNA aptamers against a zearalenone monoclonal antibody and development of a ssDNA-based enzyme-linked oligonucleotide assay for determination of zearalenone in corn.  J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Dec 22. [Epub ahead of print]
  9. Chen X., M. Dongand X. Sun* (2013). Mechanisms of action and applications of probiotics for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infection. (a chapter in Microbial pathogens and strategies for combating them: science, technology and education”, Formatex Research Center, Zurbaran, Spain).   *Corresponding author.
  10. Wang H., X. Sun, Y. Zhang, S. Li, K. Chen, L. Shi, W. Nie, R. Kumar, S. Tzipori, J. Wang, T. Savidge & H. Feng (2012).  A chimeric toxin vaccine protects against primary and recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.  Infect. Immun. 80(8):2678-88.
  11. Steele J., K. Chen, X. Sun, Y. Zhang, H. Wang, S. Tzipori & H. Feng (2012).  Toxemia is the cause of systemic disease in the piglet and mouse models of Clostridium difficile infection.  J. Infect. Dis. 205(3):384-91.
  12. Sun X., H. Wang, B. Davis & H. Feng (2011).  A mouse relapse model of Clostrridium difficile infection.  Infect. Immun. 79(7):2856-64.
  13. Sun X., S. Tzipori & H. Feng (2010).  The enterotoxicity of Clostridium difficile toxins.  Toxins, 2(7), 1848-1880. (Invited review).
  14. Sun X., X. He, S. Tzipori, R. Gerhard & H. Feng (2009).  Essential role of the glucosyltransferase activity in Clostridium difficile toxin-induced secretion of TNF-α by macrophages.  Microb. Pathog. 46(6):298-305.
  15. He X., X. Sun, S. Tzipori, H. Feng (2009).  Antibody-enhanced, Fc gamma Receptor-mediated endocytosis of Clostridium difficile toxin A.  Infect. Immun. 77(6):2294-303. Co-first author
  16. He X., J. Steele, X. Sun, S. Tzipori & H. Feng (2009).  An ultrasensitive and rapid immunocytotoxicity method for detecting Clostridium difficile toxins. J. Microbiol.l Methods 78(1):97-100.
  17. Sun X., D. van Sinderen, S. Moineau & K. J. Heller (2009). Impact of lysogeny on bacteria with a focus on lactic acid bacteria. (a chapter in “Contemporary Trend in Bacteriophage Research”, Nova Science Publisher, New York, ISBN: 978-1-6-692-181-4).
  18. Yang, G., B. Zhou, J. Wang, X. He, X. Sun, W. Nie, S. Tzipori & H. Feng (2008).  Expression of recombinant toxin A and B in Bacillus megaterium. BMC Microbiol. Nov 6;8:192.
  19. Sun X., A. Göhler, K. J. Heller & H. Neve(2006).  The ltp gene of temperate Streptococcus thermophilus phage TP-J34 confers superinfection exclusion to Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactococcus lactis. Virology 350 (1): 146-157.
  20. Sun X., D. F. Mierke, T. Biswas, S. Y. Lee, A. Landy & M. Radman-Livaja(2006).  Architecture of the 99 bp DNA – Six Protein Regulatory Complex of the λ att Site.  Molecular Cell. 24(4):569-80. 

General Research Interests

My general research interest is microbial pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions, inflammatory and immune response against pathogen infections, and development of immunotherapies.

My current research focus is on the pathogenesis of Clostridium difficile.  C. difficile infection (CDI) has become a significant public health threat in the past decade. Toxins TcdA and TcdB are two major virulent factors of C. difficile. We are investigating C. difficile toxin-mediated signal transduction, leading to the production of proinflammatory mediators, such as TNF-α. We are also developing preventive and therapeutic approaches targeting C. diffcile toxins and proinflammatory mediators in CDI. We have established several animal models of CDI. 

Selected Research Projects

1. Evaluation of novel therapeutics in animal models of CDI including mice and hamsters.
2. The innate immune responses to CDI.
3. The relative roles of C. difficile toxins in animal models.
4. Signaling pathways of TNF-α and other proinflammatory mediators and Clostridium difficile infection (CDI).
5. Development of novel therapeutic agents against C. difficile infection.
6. Regulation of C. difficile toxin production.
7. The roles of intestinal microflora and colonic progenitor cells in the pathogenesis of CDI.

Lab Members

  • Dr. Song Zhao
  • Dr. Yuanguo (Gary) Wang
  • Dr. Xianghong Ju
  • Dr. Yunlong Qin


Previous lab members

  • Dr. Yuankai Wang
  • Dr. Keshan Zhang (Associate Professor, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, China)

Awards and Honors

2014  Tufts Institute for Innovation Inaugural Award(The institute is a major initiative of the university’s strategic plan, Tufts: the Next 10 Years (T10)


2014  Tufts Collaborates Award

2014  Editor for Journal of Veterinary Medicine and Research

2014  Editor for Austin Journal of Infectious Diseases

2013  Chair of the 3rd Annual Symposia of Bacteriology and Infection, Wuhan, China July 30–Aug 1, 2013

2013  Tufts Collaborates Award

2013  Tufts Technology Access Award

2012  NIH/NIDDK K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (2012- 2017)

2010  Nominee for Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) Young Investigator Award

2009  ESCMID (European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) Award for the "6th ClostPath International Conference", Rome, Italy 19-23 October

2008  Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy(ICAAC) Infectious Diseases  Fellows Grant, 48th Annual ICAAC/46th IDSA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, awarded by the American Society for Microbiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America

2007  Postdoctoral Travel Award, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

2002  Young Scientist Award, Federation of European Microbiological Societies for the 7th Symposium on Lactic Acid Bacteria


Research Bio

My general research interest is microbial pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions, inflammatory and immune response against pathogen infections, and development of immunotherapies.

The research in my lab is focused on the pathogenesis of Clostridium difficile and development of novel approaches to prevent/treat C. difficile infection (CDI). C. difficile is a Gram-positive, toxin-producing, spore-forming, anaerobic bacterium that causes potentially fatal intestinal disease in humans and other mammals. CDI is transmitted by spores. The symptoms of CDI are attributed largely to two C. difficile toxins, TcdA and TcdB. Specifically, my lab is studying the role of innate immunity (macrophages, dendritic cells and C. difficile toxin-mediated signaling pathways) in the pathogenesis of CDI, and developing novel vaccines against CDI. In addition, we are developing projects to study the role of intestinal microbiome and colonic progenitor cells in the pathogenesis of CDI in animal models.