Microbial Physiology and Ecology Faculty

Learn more about this group by contacting Dr. Diana Downs (dmdowns@uga.edu) or Dr. Barny Whitman (whitman@uga.edu).

Microbial Physiology and Ecology (MPE) includes research groups that are unified by their focus on understanding the fundamental biology of microorganisms and their interactions between themselves, other organisms and the environment. Research across the MPE group addresses basic and applied questions and takes advantage of wide ranging technical approaches.

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Diana Downs

Professor
Microbiology

Bacterial physiology and metabolic integration using biochemical, genetic and metabolomics approaches.

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Mark A. Eiteman

Professor
Microbiology

Fermentation and biotechnology with emphasis on microbial processes to generate fuels and chemicals; nutrient-limited processes; central metabolism and the effect of redox constraints.

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Jorge Escalante-Semerena

UGA Foundation Distinguished Professor
Microbiology

Prokaryotic metabolism and physiology with emphasis on protein acetylation, toxic metabolites,
and complex metabolic pathway analysis, integration.

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Jonathan Frye

Research Microbiologist
Microbiology

We investigate the development and spread of antimicrobial resistant Salmonella,
which is the most prevalent foodborne bacterial illness in the U.S.

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David Garfinkel

Professor
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Retrovirus-like transposons in budding yeast, control of transposition, restriction factors.

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Eric T. Harvill

Professor
Infectious Diseases

Interactions between microbial pathogens and host immunity in the
mouse model using bacteria that naturally infect mice and
closely related strains that are important human pathogens.

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Tim Hoover

Professor
Microbiology

Gene regulation in bacteria; regulation of flagellar biogenesis; control of RpoN-dependent transcription in bacteria.

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Anna Karls

Associate Professor
Microbiology

Mechanisms for microbial adaptation and virulence; specialized
DNA recombination in Neisseria meningitidis & N. gonorrhoeae;
sigma54 regulon in Salmonella Typhimurium.

Website

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Brian Kvitko

Assistant Professor
Microbiology

Molecular mechanisms of plant immune action and bacterial pathogen virulence in model and crop pathosystems. Tool/technique development for phytopathogenesis systems biology and translational research.

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Eric Lafontaine

Associate Professor
Infectious Diseases

Bacterial pathogenesis; role of adhesins in virulence; vaccine development.

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Zachary Lewis

Assistant Professor
Microbiology

Chromatin structure and function; Epigenetics; Eukaryotic genome stability; Histone H1.

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Xiaorong Lin

Professor
Microbiology; Plant Biology

Human fungal pathogens, sexual reproduction and development in fungal pathogenesis

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Rob Maier

Professor
Microbiology

Physiology and metallobiology of pathogenic bacteria.

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Cory Momany

Associate Professor
Pharmaceutical & Biomedical Sciences

X-ray crystallography of macromolecules, prokaryotic transcriptional regulators.

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Silvia Moreno

Professor
Cellular Biology

Metabolism and drug development against protozoan parasites.
Calcium signaling and storage in Toxoplasma gondii.

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Ellen Neidle

Professor
Microbiology

We use the easy genetic system of a  soil bacterium, Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1,to study diverse
aspects of gene expression and chromosomal rearrangements.This research has implications
for medical issues (gene amplification), environmental issues (bioremediation),
biotechnology/bioenergy (conversion of lignin to biofuels), and evolution (new methods for experimental evolution).

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Kerry Oliver

Associate Professor
Entomology

Ecology and evolution of heritable symbiosis in insects.

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Elizabeth Ottesen

Assistant Professor
Microbiology

Ecology and physiology of environmental microbes. The use of community genomics and
transcriptomics to examine microbial behavior in natural systems.

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Eric Stabb

Professor
Microbiology

Symbiosis between the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri and Euprymna scolopes;
inter- and intra-species signaling, MAMPs, bacterial pheromones,
regulation of bioluminescence, and genetics.

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Vincent Starai

Associate Professor
Infectious Diseases; Microbiology

Bacterial modulation of eukaryotic membrane dynamics for intracellular survival;
SNARE-dependent membrane fusion biochemistry.

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Anne Summers

Professor
Microbiology; Toxciology

Environmental stress biology, using biochemical, biophysical, and ‘omics approaches to define
the roles of toxic metal exposure in chronic and infectious diseases.

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Christine Szymanski

Christine Szymanksi

Professor
Microbiology

Examining host-pathogen interactions in order to understand and exploit
virulence mechanisms used by bacteria colonizing mucosal surfaces.

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Michael Terns

Distinguished Research Professor
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Genetics; Microbiology

We study CRISPR-Cas immune systems that protect prokaryotes from viruses and provide
powerful research tools for important biotechnology and biomedical applications.

Website

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Professor Stephen Trent

M. Stephen Trent

Distinguished Professor
Infectious Diseases

Characterizing the assembly of bacterial surface structures, Development of vaccines for viral
and bacterial pathogens, Systems approaches to understanding microbial diseases

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Jason Wallace

Assistant Professor
Bioinformatics

Quantitative genetics, crop genomics, crop-microbiome interactions.

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William Whitman

Professor
Bioinformatics; Microbiology

Evolution, ecology, physiology of methane-producing archaeon Methanococcus,
the marine alpha proteobacteria, and soil bacteria.

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