The overarching mission of the Honda Lab is to understand the biology of nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease. NTM lung disease is an emerging public health threat of increasing importance globally. NTM are found in soil and water and not everyone who is exposed develops infection; thus, it is likely a variety of factors drive disease emergence. For unknown reasons, Hawai’i shows the highest numbers of NTM lung disease cases in the United States. Our team is actively studying the 1) environmental- 2) host– 3) microbial factors that contribute to NTM lung disease emergence in Hawai’i and in other Pacific Islands in order to better understand disease emergence in the United States and globally. Additionally, environmental and clinical NTM isolates from Hawai’i are used to explore the intra- and inter- NTM species differences that contribute to pathogenicity and host evasion. 

The Honda lab is supported by grants from the American Thoracic Society, National Science Foundation, Shoot for the Cure, Natalie V. Zucker Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, NIH NHLBI PRIDE AGOLD Program, University of Colorado, GI and Liver Innate Immune Program (GALIIP), and the Padosi Foundation.

Lab Resources & Services

The Honda laboratory is a part of the Center for Genes, Environment, and Health (CGEH) and the Department of Immunology and Genomic Medicine on the 5th floor of the Neustadt Building where the lab utilizes various unique research methods for NTM basic science research.

Current Projects & Grant Information

  • Critical host-pathogen interactions in the context of nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease
  • Unearthing the environmental, host, and nontuberculous mycobacterial factors that interact to cause lung disease in the Hawaiian Islands
  • Using clinical isolates from Hawai’i to understand Mycobacterium avium complex virulence
  • Investigations of the nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease triad in the context of cystic fibrosis
  • Mycobacterium abscessus and Host Factors that Predict Lung Disease in CF Patients



Honda Lab 2020

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Contact Information

Dr. Jennifer R. Honda
National Jewish Health
Center for Genes, Environment and Health
Neustadt Building, Room D504
1400 Jackson St. 
Denver, CO 80206
Office: 303.398.1015


Open Positions

There are no current openings. However, Dr. Honda is always interested in hearing from enthusiastic and talented, self-driven, and resourceful individuals interested in collaborative mycobacterial lung disease research.


Virdi, R, Lowe, M, Norton, GJ, Dawrs, SN, Hasan, NA, Epperson, LE, Glickman, CM, Chan, ED, Strong, M, Crooks, JL and JR Honda. “Lower recovery of nontuberculous mycobacteria from outdoor Hawaii environmental water biofilms compared to indoor samples.” Microorganisms, 2021.
NA. Hasan#, GJ. Norton#, R. Virdi, LE. Epperson, CK Vang, B. Hellsbusch, X. Bai, ED. Chan, M. Strong and J.R. Honda. “Measurable genomic changes in Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis after long-term adaptation in Acanthamoeba lenticulata and reduced persistence in macrophages.” Journal of Bacteriology. 2020. PMID: 33431432.Glickman, C.M#., Virdi, R#., Hasan, N.A., Epperson, L.E., Brown, L., Dawrs, S.N., Crooks, J.L., Chan, E.D., Strong, M. and J.R. Honda. “Assessment of soil features on the growth of environmental nontuberculous mycobacterial isolates from Hawai’i.” Applied Environmental Microbiology. 2020. PMID: 32859599.
Dawrs, S.N., Kautz, M., Chan, E.D. and J.R. Honda. “Mycobacterium abscessus and gastroesophageal reflex: an in vitro study.” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2020. PMID: 32298605.
Honda, JR., Hess, T., Fickes, R., Kandasamy, P., Nieto, L.M., Norton, G.J., Virdi, R., Islam, M.N., Mehaffy, C., Hasan, N.A., Epperson, L.E., Hesser, D., Alper, S., Strong, M., Flores, S.C., Voelker, D.R., Dobos, K.M. and E.D. Chan. Nontuberculous mycobacteria show differential infectivity and use phospholipids to antagonize the antibacterial activity of LL-37.” American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. 2019. PMID: 31545652.
Honda, J.R., Hasan, N.A., Davidson, R.M., Williams, M.D., Epperson, L.E., Reynolds, P.R., Smith, T., Iakhiaeva, E., Bankowski, M.J., Wallace, R.J., Chan, E.D., Falkinham, J. and M. Strong. “Environmental Nontuberculous Mycobacteria in the Hawaiian Islands.” PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2016. PMID 27780201.
Honda, JR., Hess, T., Malcolm, KC., Ovrutsky, AR., Bai, X. Irani, VR. Dobos, K.M., Chan, ED and SC Flores. Pathogenic nontuberculous mycobacteria resist and inactivate cathelicidin: implication of a novel role for polar mycobacterial lipids.” PLOS One, 2015 PMID: 25993058

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