Interviews with Fellows

E. Virginia "Ginger" Armbrust

E. Virginia "Ginger" Armbrust is the Director of the School of Oceanography and Lowell and Frankie Wakefield Professor at the University of Washington, where she focuses her research program on the ecology and evolution of eukaryotic marine phytoplankton. 

Frances Arnold

Frances Arnold is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Dr. Arnold’s research focuses on evolutionary design of biological systems.

Paul Bieniasz

Paul Bieniasz is a Professor at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (a part of Rockefeller University) and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. His research focuses on the molecular biology of retroviruses, HIV in particular, and on the ways these viruses interact with host cells.

Christine Biron

Christine Biron is chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Brown University in Providence, and she focuses her research program on the mechanisms of the innate immune system – the body’s system of non-specific munitions for fighting off pathogens.

Robert Blankenship

Robert Blankenship is a Professor in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry at Washington University, St. Louis, where his research program focuses on the evolution of photosynthesis and on the mechanisms of photosynthesis and light harvesting. 

Marshall Bloom

Marshall Bloom is the Chief of the Tickborne Flavivirus Pathogenesis Section for NIH/NIAID as well as the Associate Director for Science Management at Rocky Mountain Laboratories.  Before transitioning to studying the pathogenesis of tickborne flaviviruses, Dr. Bloom traced infectious path of the parvovirus responsible for Aleutian Mink Disease.  He also supervised the construction of NIAID’s first BSL-4 facility.

Andrew Camilli

Andrew Camilli is a Professor at Tufts University Medical School in Boston and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, where his research focuses on gene discovery and pathogenesis studies of Vibrio cholerae and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Raul Cano

Raul Cano is the Unocal Chair for Environmental Studies and the Director of the Environmental Biotechnology Institute at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.  During his time at Cal Poly, Dr. Cano's research has covered a wide array of topics, ranging from cultivating "fossilized" microbes to sequencing the genome of Lactobacillus acidophilus.  He is the Chair of the AAM's Committee on Diversity.

Michael Caparon

Michael Caparon is a Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University in St. Louis.  His lab studies the Gram positive pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes, which causes a number of human diseases ranging from impetigo to necrotizing fasciitis.  An outstanding question for the field is how this pathogen is able to cause so many different illnesses.

David Caron

David Caron's work focuses on the physiology and ecology of protists, particularly protists from deep sea and hydrothermal vent environments.  Dr. Caron is at the University of Southern California.

Jon Clardy

Jon Clardy is a Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard University, caught in between the worlds of microbiology and chemistry.  His lab mines the diverse arsenal of chemicals produced by microbes for novel therapeutics and other useful compounds.  But, he says, the far more interesting questions focus on the natural roles of these products.

Melanie Cushion

Melanie Cushion holds down two jobs: she’s a research career scientist at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and she’s also professor and associate chair for research in the department of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr. Cushion focuses her research on the fungus, Pneumocystis carinii, which is a harmless commensal for most people, but a deadly pathogen for others.

Seth Darst

Seth Darst is a professor of Molecular Biophysics at the Rockefeller University in New York City, where his research centers around determining the three-dimensional structure of RNA polymerase, the enzyme at the heart of a cell's ability to make protein from a set of DNA instructions.  His work draws on electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography.

Ed DeLong

Ed DeLong is a professor in the departments of Biological Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where his research focuses on exploring the structure and function of microbial communities using genomic approaches.  His lab is particularly focused on the communities in a microbial habitat that covers over two thirds of our planet: the oceans.  

Shou-Wei Ding

Shou-Wei Ding is a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at the University of California, Riverside. Involved in research on viral diseases of crops since the beginning of his career, today Ding's work focuses on the phenomenon of RNA silencing, a mechanism plants and other organisms use to fend off viral infection.

Nicole Dubilier

Nicole Dubilier is the leader of the Symbiosis Group at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology.  Her lab investigates the symbiotic relationships between marine invertebrates and their microbial partners.  You might be surprised to learn that she was initially a marine biologist whose love for microbiology bloomed when she began to study gutless oligochetes and learned how these worms “farm” their symbionts for organic compounds and in turn supply their bacteria with oxygen.

Katrina Edwards

Katrina Edwards is a Professor in the University of Southern California’s Department of Biological Sciences, in the Division of Marine Environmental Biology, where her research program focuses on microbial life in marine sediments and microbial transformations in these habitats.

Kate Freeman

Kate Freeman is a Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University, where her research program embraces geology, atmospheric sciences, microbiology, and other fields. In a sense, Dr. Freeman reads rocks: she has developed methods for determining ancient atmospheric conditions through the traces left by long-dead plants and microorganisms. She sees important lessons for us in the past climate, and says some big changes lie ahead for her field of study.

J. Peter Gogarten

J. Peter Gogarten is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut. His research explores the origins and early evolution of cellular life, studying molecular evolution through comparative genomics. But he wasn’t always in microbiology, and if he was required to change careers, he says he might wind up behind a canvas or in a mathematics department.

Michael Gray

Michael Gray is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Dalhousie University in Canada.

Barbara Howlett

Barbara Howlett is a Professor in the School of Botany at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Her research program focuses on plant diseases and fungal genetics, with a particular focus on the canola pathogen Leptosphaeria maculans.

Phil Hugenholtz

Phil Hugenholtz is the Director of the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics in Brisbane, where his research program applies sequence-based approaches to exploring questions about microbial ecology and evolution.

James Hughes

James Hughes is a Professor of Medicine and a Professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory University in Atlanta. Earlier in his career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), Dr. Hughes was the Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases.

Janet Jansson

Janet Jansson is a Professor in the Earth Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  Her lab uses a variety of –omics approaches to study complex microbial communities in the soil, sediment, and the human gut.

Jay Keasling

Jay Keasling is the Hubbard Howe, Jr. Professor of Biochemical Engineering in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Keasling's research focuses on synthetic biology, systems biology, and environmental biotechnology. He was elected to the AAM in 2007.

Nancy Keller

Nancy Keller is a Professor of Bacteriology and Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A mycologist, Dr. Keller works with Aspergillus- a genus of fungi that includes many mycotoxin-producing plant and human pathogens.  Her research focuses on finding those aspects of Aspergillus species that make them effective as pathogens and as toxin factories.

Laura Kiessling

Laura Kiessling's research focuses on synthetic ligands and using synthesized ligands to explore biological recognition processes. Dr. Kiessling is at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

David Knipe

David Knipe is the Higgins Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical school. A virologist, Dr. Knipe focuses his research efforts on the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) – the virus we have to thank for genital herpes.

Nirbhay Kumar

Nirbhay Kumar is a Professor and Chair at the Department of Tropical Medicine in the School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine at Tulane University, where his research program focuses on the biology of malaria parasites and on malaria transmission-blocking vaccines.

Daniel Lew

Daniel Lew is a professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and of Genetics at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. His research program focuses on cell cycle control in yeast and how the cell cycle interacts with cell polarity.

Jennifer Lodge

Jennifer Lodge is Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Associate Dean for Research at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Lodge uses molecular, genetic, and proteomic approaches to uncover the molecular principles of virulence in pathogenic fungi, including Cryptococcus neoformans.

David Low

David Low is a Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  While most of his research career has focused on epigenetic regulation in bacteria, his lab has recently discovered a novel mechanism of bacteria communication and competition – contact dependent growth inhibition.

Anthony Maurelli

Anthony Maurelli is a professor of microbiology and immunology in the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Maurelli's major research interest lies in the genetics of bacterial pathogenesis - the nuts and bolts of how bacteria infect humans and make us sick.

J. Michael Miller

J. Michael Miller is Associate Director of the National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-borne and Enteric Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cesare Montecucco

Cesare Montecucco is a professor of General Pathology at the University of Padova, Italy (Padova is known as "Padua" in English). Dr. Montecucco's research explores the mechanisms of action of toxins - including anthrax toxin, botulinum toxin, and snake toxins.

Dianne Newman

Dianne Newman is the Wilson Professor of Biology and Geobiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research explores some of the unusual ways microbes use electron transfer to make a living and how ancient microbes, in their struggle to survive, forged the landscape we see today.

Julie Overbaugh

Julie Overbaugh is a member of the Divisions of Human Biology and Public Health Sciences at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Overbaugh studies the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, and the factors that influence its transmission.

Robin Patel

Robin Patel is a Professor of Medicine and of Microbiology, Chair of Clinical Microbiology and Director of the Infectious Disease Research Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Her research in clinical microbiology has ranged from the development of new diagnostics to the discovery of new bacterial species.

Carlos Pedrós-Alió

Carlos Pedrós-Alió is a professor at the Institut de Ciències del Mar (English speakers know it as the Marine Sciences Institute) in Barcelona, Spain. His research focuses on the ecology of microorganisms and on finding the underlying principles behind their distribution and behavior.

Liise-anne Pirofski

Liise-anne Pirofski is Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Kathleen Postle

Kathleen Postle is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Eberly College of Science at Pennsylvania State University.

Jung-Hye Roe

Jung-Hye Roe is Chair of the School of Biological Sciences at Seoul National University (SNU) in Korea, where she has worked since completing her Ph.D. and postdoctoral appointments at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in the 1980s. Roe's research focuses on the mechanisms of genetic responses by which Streptomyces respond to oxidative stress.

Naomi Rosenberg

Naomi Rosenberg is Dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts and Vice Dean for Research. During her research career, Dr. Rosenberg has focused on retroviral oncogenesis, pioneering the use of Abelson Murine Leukemia Virus to immortalize lymphoid cells.

Connie Schmaljohn

Connie Schmaljohn is Chief Scientist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland, where she develops vaccines for a number of viral diseases of interest to the military.  She was elected to the AAM in 2007.

Susan Sharp

Susan Sharp is Director of the Regional Laboratory, and Regional Director of Microbiology for Kaiser Permanente Northwest, in Portland, Oregon and an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at Oregon Health & Sciences University.

Irwin Sherman

Irwin Sherman is a Professor emeritus of Zoology at the University of California, Riverside. Prior to his retirement in 2006, Dr. Sherman led a research program that revolved around the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, and served as Dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and as Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station.

Peter Small

Peter Small is a Senior Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an Affiliate Associate Professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Pathobiology. While collaborating with epidemiologists, population biologists, and molecular biologists, Dr. Small studies the population biology of tuberculosis, particularly in the context of co-infection with HIV. He’s an avid spear fisherman, and is currently in the process of an inter-continental move.

Vanessa Sperandio

Vanessa Sperandio is a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  Her lab studies cell-cell signaling in the control of virulence factor gene expression in enteric bacterial pathogens.

Gary Stacey

Gary Stacey is the Missouri Soybean Biotechnology Professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the Director of the University of Missouri’s Center for Sustainable Energy.  His research focuses on the inter-kingdom signaling process between the nitrogen-fixing symbiont Bradyrhizobium and its host, the soybean plant.

Xinzhuan Su

Xinzhuan Su is the Chief and Senior Investigator of the Malaria Functional Genomics Section of the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Su’s research is focused on the genomics of Plasmodium falciparum.

Michele Swanson

Michele Swanson is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School. Swanson's research explores the intersection of physiology, differentiation, and the cell biology of infection in Legionella pneumophila.

Ralph Tanner

Ralph Tanner is a professor in the Department of Botany and Microbiology at the University of Oklahoma, Norman.  His research centers around anaerobic bacteria, their diversity, and their phylogeny, and his most recent work has focused on developing bacterial catalysts for biofuels production.

Elaine Tuomanen

Elaine Tuomanen is the chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Director of the  Children’s Infection Defense Center at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.  In her research, Dr. Tuomanen explores the surface of Streptococcus pneumoniae, a major causative agent of meningitis.

Mark Walker

Mark Walker is the Director of the Australian Infectious Disease Research Centre in Brisbane.  His lab investigates the multitude of means by which group A streptococcus (GAS) causes disease.

Jonathan Weissman

Jonathan Weissman is a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Theodore White

Theodore White is a full member at Seattle Biomed, where he’s been since 1996, and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. His research program focuses on molecular mechanisms of drug resistance in fungi, particularly Candida albicans.

Gerry Wright

Gerry Wright is the Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University in Ontario.  His lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and its origins to find new solutions to treat infectious diseases. 

Jonathan Zehr

Dr. Jonathan Zehr is a professor of Ocean Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz and an adjunct researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Dr. Zehr’s research focuses on the nitrogen cycle in the oceans, with particular focus on nitrogen-fixing bacteria and archaea.

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