Interviews with Fellows
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.
Dennis Bazylinski is a Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His lab studies magnetotactic bacteria, a diverse group of bacteria made unique by their ability to biomineralize magnetic crystals inside their cells which allows alignment with external magnetic fields.
|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 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.|
|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 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 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 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.|
|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 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.|
|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.|Andrew Ellington is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. As a bioengineer, his lab pioneers aptamer selection and applications. Aptamers, the nucleic acid equivalent of antibodies, can be used for a variety of roles including biological imaging and diagnostics.
|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.|Laura A. Katz is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Smith College. Her lab probes the evolution of microbial eukaryotes and hopes to refine universal phylogenies that resolve major developmental milestones.
|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.|
|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 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.|
|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 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.
|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.|
|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 is a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.|
|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.|
|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.|