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Mary Ann Comunale

Mary Ann Comunale, EdD, MS

Associate Professor; Director, Center for Scientific Communications and Outreach

Department: Microbiology & Immunology


  • EdD - Drexel University
  • MS - East Stroudsburg University

Mary Ann Comunale, EdD, MS, is an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at Drexel University College of Medicine, and Director of the Center for Scientific Communications and Outreach. Dr. Comunale’s research interests include diagnostic development with a focus on Lyme disease. She is also passionate about increasing diversity in STEM fields. She directs collaborative outreach experiences for graduate students in the M&I department. The goal is to provide concrete solutions and mentoring experiences with local Philadelphia youth, resulting in a more diversified next generation of STEM and medical professionals.

Research Interests

Scientific: Proteomic and glycoproteomic analysis to identify early markers of disease, analytical and clinical assay development.
Educational: Innovative learning technologies including gamification and game based learning.


Over the past decade, Dr. Comunale has worked collaboratively to develop biomarkers for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Hepatocellular carcinoma can be caused by chronic infection with a virus (hepatitis B and C), excessive alcohol consumption or fatty liver disease. HCC is the third leading cause of liver cancer in the world today. Early detection can increase survival rates from less than 10% to over 80%. Dr. Comunale was part of a team that examined aberrant glycosylation in diseased states that resulted in protein biomarkers that have been patented in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan and China, and licensed to Glycotest LLC. Dr. Comunale has recently focused her research efforts on glycomic, glycoproteomic and proteomic techniques to investigate Lyme disease.

Current Graduate Students

  • Ben Haslund-Gourley (MD/PhD Microbiology & Immunology)
  • Jintong Hou, MS (PhD Biostatistics)
  • Keziah Adjei (MS Molecular Medicine)
  • Quinn Williams (BS Game Design)

Past Students

  • Kristina Carroll (MS Molecular Medicine)
  • Colin Page (BS Computer Science - Coop)
  • Elizabeth Calio (BS Psychology)
  • Christopher Dobbins (BS Game Art and Production)
  • John Harvey (BS Game Art and Production)


Early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma
Mary Ann Comunale, Timothy Block, Anand Mehta and Mengun Wang
Publication number: 20190064171

Diagnosis of liver pathology through assessment of protein glycosylation
Mary Ann Comunale, Anand Mehta and Timothy Block
Patent number: 7776550

Diagnosis of liver pathology through assessment of anti-gal IgG glycosylation
Mary Ann Comunale, Anand Mehta and Timothy Block
Patent number: 9110078


Selected Research Publications

See full publication list.

“IgM N-glycosylation correlates with COVID-19 severity and rate of complement deposition”
Haslund-Gourley, B.S., Woloszczuk, K., Hou, J.,... Comunale M.A.
Nat Commun 15, 404 (2024).

“IgG N-glycan signatures as potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers”
Haslund-Gourley, B., Wigdahl, B., and Comunale, M.A.
Diagnostics, 13(6), 1016. doi: (2023)

“Acute Lyme disease IgG N-linked glycans contrast the canonical inflammatory signature”
Haslund-Gourley, Grauzam, S., Mehta, A.S., Wigdahl, B., and Comunale, M.A.
Frontiers in Immunology, 13, 949118–949118. (2022)

ER α-glucosidase inhibitor IHVR-19029 against hemorrhagic fever viruses
Ma J., Zhang X, Soloveve V, Warren T, Guo F, Wu S, Su Q, Shen H, Solon E, Comunale MA, Mehta A, Guo J, Savari S, Du Y, Block T and Chang J
Antiviral Research
, 150, 112-122. doi:10.1016/j.antiviral.2017.12.008, 2018

Inside front cover: Development and application of a novel recombinant aleuria aurantia lectin with enhanced core fucose binding for identification of glycoprotein biomarkers of hepatocellular carcinoma
Norton P, Comunale MA, Herrera H, Wang M, Houser J, Wimmerova M, Romano P and Mehta A
Proteomics, 16(24), 3126-3136. doi:10.1002/pmic.201600064, 2016

Host erythrocyte environment influences the localization of exported protein 2, an essential component of the Plasmodium translocon
Meibalan E, Comunale MA, Lopez AM, Bergman LW, Mehta A, Vaidya AB and Burns JM Jr.
Eukaryot Cell, 14(4), 371-384. doi:10.1128/EC.00228-14, 2015

Total serum glycan analysis is superior to lectin-FLISA for the early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma
Comunale MA, Wang M, Anbarasan N, Betesh L, Karabudak A, Moritz E, Devarajan K, Marrero J, Block T, Mehta A
Proteomics Clin Appl, 7(9-10), 690-700. doi:10.1002/prca.201200125, 2013

"Linkage Specific Fucosylation of Alpha-1-Antitrypsin in Liver Cirrhosis and Cancer Patients: Implications for a Biomarker of Hepatocellular Carcinoma"
Comunale MA, Rodemich-Betesh L, Hafner J, Wang M, Norton P, et al.
PLoS ONE, 5(8): e12419, 2010

"Identification and development of fucosylated glycoproteins as biomarkers of primary hepatocellular carcinoma"
Comunale MA, Wang M, Hafner J, Krakover J, Rodemich L, Kopenhaver B, Long RE, Junaidi O, Bisceglie AM, Block TM, and AS Mehta
Journal of Proteome Research, 8(2): 595-602, 2009.

"Novel fucosylated biomarkers for the early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma"
Wang M, Long RE, Comunale MA, Junaidi O, Marrero J, Di Bisceglie, AM, Block, TM, and AS Mehta
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 18(6): 1914-1921, 2009.

"Glycomic characterization of prostate-specific antigen and prostatic acid phosphatase in prostate cancer and benign disease seminal plasma fluids"
White KY, Rodemich L, Nyalwidhe JO, Comunale MA, Clements MA, Lance RS, Schellhammer PF, Mehta AS, Semmes OJ, and RR Drake
Journal of Proteome Research, 8(2): 620-630, 2009.

"N-linked glycosylation of the liver cancer biomarker GP73"
Norton PA, Comunale MA, Krakover J, Rodemich L, Pirog N, D'Amelio A, Philip R, Mehta AS, and TM Block
Journal of Cell Biochemistry, 104(1): 136-149, 2008.

"Increased levels of galactose-deficient anti-Gal immunoglobulin G in the sera of hepatitis C virus-infected individuals with fibrosis and cirrhosis"
Mehta AS, Long RE, Comunale MA, Wang M, Rodemich L, Krakover J, Philip R, Marrero JA, Dwek RA, and TM Block
Journal of Virology, 82(3): 1259-1270, 2008.

"Proteomic analysis of serum associated fucosylated glycoproteins in the development of primary hepatocellular carcinoma"
Comunale MA, Krakover J, Lowman M, Long RE, Philip R, Seeholzer S, Evans AA, Hann HWL, Block TM, and AS Mehta
Journal of Proteome Research, 6(5): 308-315, 2006.

"Use of targeted glycoproteomics to identify serum glycoproteins that correlate with liver cancer in woodchucks and humans"
Block TM, Comunale MA, Romano PM, Lowman M, Fimmel C, Tennant BT, Evans A, London WT, Blumberg B, Dwek RA, Mattu TS, and A Mehta
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 102 (3): 779--84, 2005.

"GP73, a resident Golgi glycoprotein, is a novel serum marker for hepatocellular carcinoma"
Marrero JA, Romano PR, Nikolaeva O, Steel L, Mehta A, Fimmel CJ, Comunale MA, D'Amelio A, Lok AS, and TM Block.
Journal of Hepatology, 43(6): 1007-1012, 2005.

"Comparative proteomic analysis of de-N-glycosylated serum from hepatitis B carriers reveals polypeptides that correlate with disease status"
Comunale MA, Mattu TS, Lowman M, Evans A, London WT, Dwek RA, Block TM, and A Mehta
Proteomics: 4(3): 826-838, 2004.

Book Chapters

Glycosylation and Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
Comunale MA and Mehta A
In M. Dunn, L. Jorde, P. Little and S. Subramaniam (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics (Vol. 3): Wiley, 2006

Glycoproteomic Analysis by Two Dimensional Electrophoresis
Comunale MA and Mehta A
In M.A. Tainsky (Ed.), Tumor Marker Discovery (Vol. 520, pp. 59-74): Humana Press, 2009

Contact Information

Department of Microbiology & Immunology
245 N. 15th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215.991.8352