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Students can pursue a graduate degree with a focus in microbiology in two ways.  They can obtain an M.S. or Ph.D. in Biological Sciences or pursue a Ph.D. through the Interdepartmental Microbiology Graduate Program.

Faculty Members and Current Research

Joe Falkinham Epidemiology, physiology, genetics and ecology of nontuberculous mycobacteria; antibiotic discovery and development
Caroline Jones Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Inflammation, Lab-on-a-chip technology, Host-pathogen interactions
Liwu Li Molecular pathways controlling innate immunity and inflammation; dynamic programming of innate immune leukocytes; pathogenesis of actue chronic inflammatory diseases such as sepsis and atherosclerosis
Stephen Melville Molecular pathogenesis of diseases caused by the anaerobic bacterium, Clostridium perfringens. The emphasis is on C. perfringens' interactions with host phagocytic cells and the regulation of virulence factors that lead to tissue infections and food poisoning caused by the bacterium.
David Popham Structure, synthesis, and hydrolysis of the peptidoglycan wall components of vegetative cells and endospores. Studies utilize the model Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis and the pathogens Bacilus anthracis and Clostridium difficile. Molecular genetic techniques are used to identify and manipulate the genes encoding the enzymes that polymerize and hydrolyze the peptidoglycan. Biochemical methods are used to examine the activities of these proteins and the peptidoglycan structural alterations associated with genetic and phenotypic changes. Potential applications for this research are in antibiotic design and in spore-killing for decontamination procedures.
Birgit Scharf Bacterial motility and chemotaxis; sensing of environmental signals, two-component signal transduction, the speed-variable flagellar motor, flagellotropic phage infection, function of type IV pili in symbiosis, tumor-targeting Salmonella
Florian Schubot Structural and biophysical basis for virulence mechanisms in bacterial pathogens; regulation of the type III secretion system and biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa; structural studies of chlamydial Inc proteins and their role in host invasion
Ann Stevens Bacterial-host interactions; cell-cell communication; molecular microbiology; emphasis on bacterial environmental sensing and gene regulation, including quorum sensing; virulence of the corn pathogen Pantoea stewartii and the human foodborne pathogen Vibrio parahaemolyticus; beneficial roles of bacteria in aquaculture.
Zhaomin Yang Bacterial locomotion and signal transduction; Myxococcus xanthus inter- and intra-cellular signaling in fruiting and gliding motility (bacterial SURFACE motility WITHOUT the flagellum). Twitching motility and pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.