Joseph Dasso





401 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33606

Building Location

CB 168

Meet Joseph Dasso

Visiting Assistant Professor, Biology

Education: 1983 University of Idaho, B.S.
1987 Oregon State University, M.S.
1996 University of Northern Colorado, Ph.D.
2006 St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine, M.D.

Courses Taught: Developmental Biology lecture and laboratory
Genetics lecture
Microbiology lecture and laboratory
Cell Biology lecture and laboratory
Human Anatomy I and II lecture and laboratory
General Biology I and II lecture and laboratory
Nutrition lecture

Career Specialties: Dr. Joseph Dasso is interested in investigating the development of the immune system in health and in primary immunodeficiency disorders. Dr. Dasso is particularly intrigued by the influence of the microbiome and other exogenous factors on such development.

Professional and Community Activities: Dr. Dasso is a part-time staff scientist at the University of South Florida Children’s Research Institute. Dasso's research mostly concerns the role of the microbiota/microbiome in primary immunodeficiency (PID) and neuropsychiatric disorders in children. The microbiota are bacteria and other microorganisms that reside within or on the body, most of which are found in the gastrointestinal tract whereas the microbiome refers to the microbiota and/or their genes.

One of the projects pertains to the role of the microbiota in gut inflammation in an animal model of a partial recombination-activating gene (RAG) deficiency. RAG enables the generation of a diverse adaptive immune system to protect against infectious agents. Individuals with partial RAG deficiency have a restricted immune repertoire of T and B cells and present with complications such as chronic inflammation of the gut and skin. We and others have previously shown that the composition of gut microbiota in mouse models of partial rag deficiency is abnormal and that antibiotic treatment improves gut inflammation in these mice. Recently, Dr. Dasso presented a poster at an international immunology conference, which summarized our research team’s latest findings. They found specific bacterial taxa associated with a leaky intestines and inflamed colon in our mouse model of partial rag deficiency. Further, the diversity of the microbiota in the partially rag deficient mice was significantly lower than that of the wild type mice; this difference become more pronounced as the mice developed during weaning to adulthood. Loss of microbiota diversity in the gut is associated with intestinal inflammation and other diseases in humans. Their long-term goal is to manipulate the microbiota in PID patients so as to prevent and/or lessen chronic gut inflammation.

Another project Dr. Dasso is working on concerns the microbiome-gut-brain axis in neuropsychiatric disorders as affected by antibiotic treatment and immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels. The microbiota in the respiratory and digestive tracts produce metabolites, which affect brain function. Children may abruptly develop obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and/or tics following a bacterial respiratory tract infection, especially group A Streptococcus infection. A previous study examined a subset of these pediatric patients and found they had an abnormal microbiota. Another study showed antibiotic treatment ameliorated the severity of OCD symptoms in similar patients. They propose to analyze the nasal and oropharyngeal microbiota from pediatric patients with OCD and/or tics that arises suddenly. They want to determine how antibiotic treatment and IgA levels affect the microbiota and their metabolites and whether the microbiota and their metabolites associate with severity of neuropsychiatric abnormalities.

Honors and Awards: Postgraduate Training Awards
Postdoctoral Associate, Baylor College of Medicine
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Missouri School of Medicine
Intramural Research Training Award Fellow, National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases

Medical School Awards
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Chrysalis Project Scholarship
Osler’s Cup Award
MD Teaching Scholarship

Graduate School Awards
Colorado Graduate Fellowship
Nonresident Tuition Assistance Award for Excellence
MacCracken Memorial Award for Science Education
Robert Sund Memorial Award for Science Education
National Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research
University of Northern Colorado Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research
Graduate School Research Grant

Undergraduate School Awards
National Dean's List
Alumni Award for Excellence
Scholar-Athlete Award