christopher r. cox
Assistant Research PROFESSOr
BS – University of Oklahoma
MS – University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Ph.D. – OUHSC/Harvard University
Post doc. – Colorado School of Mines
My main research interests center on investigation and development of novel methods and technologies for bacterial detection, identification and antibiotic resistance determination as well as detection and quantification of serum cancer biomarkers. This specifically involves the development and use of novel lateral flow immunochromatography, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and Raman mass spectroscopy techniques with a view towards commercial translation in the clinical, military, food and beverage, agricultural, pharmaceutical and personal care industries.
There is a growing demand for alternative approaches and therapies to counter antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. Most current approaches to bacterial ID and drug resistance determination require separate techniques and lengthy culture-based bacterial enrichment often requiring one to several days for analysis, which can significantly impact diagnosis and efficacy of therapy. One focus of my research aims to address these problems through the exploitation of bacteriophage (phage) biochemistry and phage protein amplification for simultaneous, multiplexed bacterial detection/ID and antimicrobial resistance determination. Phage amplification, owing to its evolutionarily conserved host specificity, its reliance on a viable host for infection and subsequent propagation, and the rapid rate at which the phage life cycle proceeds, affords a powerful means for bacterial detection, identification and antibiotic resistance profiling in a single technique which is accomplished in as little as 2 hours.
The following is a list of my current ongoing research projects:
- Investigation and application of phage amplification and/or novel MALDI-TOF MS and Metal Oxide Laser Ionization mass spectrometry (MOLI MS) methods to rapid detection, ID and drug resistance determination of:
- Enterococcus faecalis/faecium
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Bacillus anthracis
- Yersinia pestis
- Escherichia coli
- Burkholderia pseudomallei
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Acinetobacter baumannii
- Francisella tularensis
- Clinical yeasts and molds
- Discovery and phenotypic/genetic characterization of novel phages. This includes isolation, genome sequencing and annotation, and metagenomic analysis of new phages from environmental and clinical reservoirs.
- In silico optimization and modeling of phage-based MALDI-TOF bacterial detection methods.
- Investigation and development of novel MALDI-TOF MS bacterial identification methods using metal oxide-catalyzed on-target conversion of membrane phospholipids into taxonomically profilable fatty acids (MOLI-MS) (patent pending).
- Investigation of MOLI-MS as a method of simultaneous microbial ID and antibiotic resistance determination
- Investigation of novel lateral flow capillary concentration (LFCC) as a next-generation replacement of conventional LFI (patent pending).
- Investigation and application of LFCC technologies to rapid detection and quantification of prostate and breast cancer serum biomarkers.
- Cox, C.R.*, Jensen, K.R., Saichek, N.R. and Voorhees, K.J. Strain-level bacterial identification and detection by fatty acid-based metal oxide laser ionization mass spectrometry. 2015.
Nature Scientific Reports. 5:10470.
- Saichek, N.R., Kim, S., Cox, C.R. and Voorhees, K.J. Strain-level Identification and Differentiation of Staphylococcus by cerium oxide catalyzed MALDI-TOF MS. 2016 BMC Microbiol. 16:72
- Cox, C.R.*, Jensen, K.R., Mondesire, R.R. and Voorhees, K.J. Rapid detection of Bacillus anthracis by gamma phage amplification and lateral flow immunochromatography. 2015. J. Microbiological Methods. 118:51-56.
- Stambach, N.R., Carr, S.A., Cox, C.R. and Voorhees, K.J. Rapid Detection of Listeria by Bacteriophage Amplification and SERS-Enhanced Lateral Flow Immunochromatography. 2015. Viruses. 7(12):6631-6641.
- Cody, R.B., McAlpin, C.R., Cox, C.R., Jensen, K.R. and Voorhees, K.J. Identification of bacteria by fatty acid profiling with direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry. 2015. Rapid Comm. Mass Spectrom. 29:1-6.
- Voorhees, K.J., Saichek, N.R., Jensen, K.R., Harrington, P.B. and Cox, C.R. Comparison of metal oxide catalysts for pyrolytic MOLI-MS bacterial identification. 2014. J. Anal. Appl. Pyrolysis. 113:78-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaap.2014.10.016
- Cox, C.R.*, Saichek, N., Schweizer, H.P. and Voorhees, K.J. Burkholderia pseudomallei/mallei Identification and Antibiotic Resistance Determination by Bacteriophage Amplification and MALDI-TOF MS. 2014. Bacteriophage 4(3):e29011.
- Cox, C.R.* and Voorhees, K.J. Detection of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Agents for the Prevention of Terrorism: Bacterial Identification by Mass Spectrometry. NATO Science for Peace and Security-Chemistry and Biology: Banoub, J.H. Ed. Springer Science and Business Media and IOS Press. 2014.
- Kvitko, B., Cox, C.R., DeShazer, D., and Schweizer, H. Phage X126, a naturally virulent P2-like bacteriophage of Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei with broad strain infectivity. 2012. BMC Microbiology. 12:289-298.
- Cox, C.R., Rees, J.C., and Voorhees, K.J. Modeling Bacteriophage Amplification as a Predictive Tool for Optimized MALDI-TOF MS-based Bacterial Detection. 2012. J. Mass Spec. 47(11):1435-41.
- Cox, C.R.* Bacteriophage-based methods of Bacterial Detection and Identification. In Bacteriophages in Health and Disease: Abedon, S. and Hyman, P. Eds. 2012. CABI press.
- Cox, C.R.*, and Voorhees, K.J. Bacteriophage amplification-coupled detection and Identification of bacterial pathogens. In Detection of Biological Agents For the Prevention of Bioterrorism. NATO Science for Peace and Security-Chemistry and Biology: Banoub, J.H. Ed. Springer Science and Business Media and IOS Press. 2010.
- Voorhees, K.J., McAlpin, C.R., and Cox, C.R. Lipid profiling using catalytic pyrolysis/metal oxide laser ionization mass spectrometry. 2012. J. Anal. Appl. Pyrolysis. 98:201-206.
- Voorhees, K.J., Jensen, K.R., McAlpin, C.R., Rees, J.C., Cody, R., Ubukata, M., and Cox. C.R. Modified MALDI-MS Fatty Acid Profiling for Bacterial Identification. 2013. J. Mass Spectrom. 48(7):850-855.
- McAlpin, C.R. Cox, C.R., Matyi, S.A., and Voorhees, K.J. Enhanced matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometric analysis of bacteriophage major capsid proteins with β-mercaptoethanol pretreatment. 2009. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 24(1):11-4.
- Cox, C.R. and Gilmore, M.S. Native microbial colonization of Drosophila melanogaster and its use as a model of Enterococcus faecalis pathogenesis. Infection and Immunity. 2007. 75(4):1565-76.
- Cox, C.R., Coburn, P.S., and Gilmore, M.S. Enterococcal cytolysin: a novel two component peptide system that serves as a bacterial defense against eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2005. 6(1):77-84.