Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Thomas Hall 4510A
Our interests include the molecular biology and genomics of bacteria and bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are the single most abundant biological entities on earth, with estimates of over 1031 in number. Over several years, our experience has included working with phages that infect E. coli, Salmonella, Bacillus, Vibrio, Mycobacterium and currently Paenibacillus larvae, a pathogen of honey bees that causes American Foulbrood Disease (AFB). Phage genomics is extremely tractable since phage can be relatively easily isolated, the current cost of DNA sequencing is low, and assembly and annotation of phage genomes is readily learned and accomplished. Graduate students and undergraduates can participate in a variety of projects with fairly short learning curves. We pursue P. larvae phage isolation, genome characterization and analysis of specific phage gene and protein functions of interest. Some of this work could impact our understanding and treatment of AFB.
We also have microbiology projects involving collaborators on campus that include studies of novel tetrapyrroles (tolyporphins) produced by filamentous cyanobacteria (with Dr. Jon Lindsey), the enzymes of isobutylene catabolism by Mycobacterium sp. ELW1 (with Dr. Michael Hyman), and indicators of disease in honey bees (with Dr. David Tarpy). Students and research scientists at all levels are involved in this work. Contact us at any time if you’d like to discuss one of these projects.
Our undergraduate research program funded by the USDA, BeeMORE: Bees and microbes in organized research and extension, provides underrepresented students in science and agriculture from across the country an opportunity to participate in hands-on research and professional development.
We are no longer accepting new students.
Websites we visit:
- American Society for Microbiology
- Genomics & Microbiology Research Lab at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences
- BacterioFiles, the podcast for microbe lovers (from NCSU PhD graduate Jesse Noar)
- SEA-PHAGES, HHMI Science Education Alliance
- The RAST server
- Habitat for Humanity, Food Bank NC, El Pueblo, Billy Strings, IBMA guitar player of the year (2021)
- MB(GN) 758 Microbial Genetics and Genomics (Spring; Graduate)
- MB(BIT) 210 Phage Hunters (on hiatus)
B.A. Microbiology California State University 1977
Ph.D. Biological Sciences Purdue University 1982
Area(s) of Expertise
Microbial genetics and genomics; bacteriophages; biotechnology
- Identification of Putative Biosynthetic Gene Clusters for Tolyporphins in Multiple Filamentous Cyanobacteria , LIFE-BASEL (2021)
- Natural Product Gene Clusters in the Filamentous Nostocales Cyanobacterium HT-58-2 , LIFE-BASEL (2021)
- Cellular localization of tolyporphins, unusual tetrapyrroles, in a microbial photosynthetic community determined using hyperspectral confocal fluorescence microscopy , Photosynthesis Research (2019)
- Genome sequence, metabolic properties and cyanobacterial attachment of Porphyrobacter sp. HT-58-2 isolated from a filamentous cyanobacterium–microbial consortium , Microbiology (2018)
- An inclusive Research Education Community (iREC): Impact of the SEA-PHAGES program on research outcomes and student learning , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017)
- Genome sequence and composition of a tolyporphin-producing cyanobacterium-microbial community , Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2017)
- Mass spectrometric detection of chlorophyll a and the tetrapyrrole secondary metabolite tolyporphin A in the filamentous cyanobacterium HT-58-2. Approaches to high-throughput screening of intact cyanobacteria , Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (2017)
- Photophysical characterization of the naturally occurring dioxobacteriochlorin tolyporphin A and synthetic oxobacteriochlorin analogues , Photochemistry and Photobiology (2017)
- Quantitation of Tolyporphins, Diverse Tetrapyrrole Secondary Metabolites with Chlorophyll-Like Absorption, from a Filamentous Cyanobacterium-Microbial Community , Phytochemical Analysis (2017)
- Vibrio phage KVP40 encodes a functional NAD(+) salvage pathway , Journal of Bacteriology (2017)