David Popham

Professor of Biological Sciences
popham
5016-B Derring Hall (MC 0406)
926 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
USA

Major Field of Interest

Molecular Microbiology

Current Research

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 Bacillus 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 of this research are in antibiotic design and in spore-killing for decontamination procedures.

  • 2002-2008 Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
  • 1997-2002 Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
  • 1991-1996 Post-doctoral fellow and Instructor, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington. Mentor: Dr. Peter Setlow.
  • 1989-1991 Post-doctoral fellow, Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Paris, France. Mentor: Dr. Patrick Stragier
  • 1989 Ph.D. in Microbiology, University of California, Davis, Thesis advisor Dr. Sydney Kustu, "Mechanism of Activation of Nitrogen-Regulated Transcription in Salmonella typhimurium"
  • B.A. in Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, 1983
  • Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology (2016)
  • Journal of Bacteriology Jack Kenney Award for Outstanding Service on the Editorial Board (2013)
  • Eli Lilly & Company Infectious Diseases Research Contact Award (1997-1999)
  • Human Frontiers Science Project Fellowship (1990-1991)
  • NIH-French CNRS Fellowship, Fogarty International Center (1989-1990)
  • University Regent's Fellowship, U.C. Davis (1986-1988)
  • Jastro-Shields Research Scholarship, U.C. Davis (1986, 1987)
  • Earle C. Anthony Graduate Fellowship, U.C. Davis (1985-1986)
  • National Merit Scholarship, Washington Univ. (1979-1983)