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Eric Miller


Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

Thomas Hall 2510A


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:

Courses taught:

  • 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


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