Molecular and Genome Biology of Microbes

Microbial genome biology is a rapidly expanding field that couples genomics and proteomics with molecular, cellular, and structural biology to understand microbial organisms. Microbes offer unique advantages for graduate training because their smaller genomes and proteomes and their diverse metabolisms can be studied comprehensively, because they are highly amenable to currently emerging methodologies, because they fundamentally impact human health, agriculture, the economy, and the environment, and because they offer unparalleled insights into the evolution of life on earth. Our group provides graduate student training in Molecular and Genome Biology of Microbes. Participating labs offer state-of-the-art training in research areas that focus on molecular, biochemical, or structural approaches to study microbial transcription, gene regulation, regulatory RNAs, DNA replication, DNA recombination and DNA repair, transposition, and other genome biology processes. The focus group provides research training in systems biology approaches to analyze the operation and interactions of microbial regulatory circuits (gene arrays, proteomics, gene network and pathway modeling, computational biology, etc.). UW-Madison is a world-renowned leader in molecular studies of microbes, and brings together researchers from many departments (e.g., Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Biomolecular Chemistry, Genetics, Engineering, and Plant Pathology).

Our focus group hosts twice-monthly meetings of the “Microbial Mechanisms Forum” with an emphasis on graduate student presentations Tuesdays at 4 pm (check our web site for a current schedule and location). Our group also hosts a leading international meeting on microbial mechanisms at UW-Madison every August: “Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages“.


Focus Group Chair Robert Landick
Biochemistry Department
Control of transcription elongation; RNA polymerase structure/function

Focus Group Members

Daniel Amador-Noguez

Bacteriology Department

Metabolic regulation in biofuel producing bacteria

David Brow

Biomolecular Chemistry Department

DNA transcription and RNA splicing in yeast

Briana Burton

Bacteriology Department

Macromolecule transport across membranes

Silvia Cavagnero

Chemistry Department

Protein folding and aggregation in the cell, molecular chaperones, role of the ribosome in protein folding

Joseph Dillard

Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department

Bacterial pathogenesis

Timothy Donohue

Bacteriology Department

Process & control of bioenergy generation

Catherine Fox

Biomolecular Chemistry Department

Conservation and diversity in mechanisms that control the inheritance and expression of eukaryotic chromosomes

Paul Friesen

Biochemistry Department

Apoptosis, programmed cell death, mechanisms of host-virus interactions, regulation of transcription, baculovirus evolution

Richard Gourse

Bacteriology Department

Control of transcription initiation

Chris Hittinger

Genetics Department

Molecular evolution of gene networks

Aaron Hoskins

Biochemistry Department

Mechanisms of pre-mRNA Splicing

Christina Hull

Biomolecular Chemistry Department

Human fungal pathogen development & pathogenesis

Mehdi Kabbage

Plant Pathology Department

Plant fungal interactions; stress tolerance, programmed cell death

Lindsay Kalan

Medical Microbiology Department

Skin microbiome and wound healing

James Keck

Biomolecular Chemistry Department

DNA replication, recombination, and repair

Nancy Keller

Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department

Aspergillus cell biology

Patricia Kiley

Biomolecular Chemistry Department

Molecular genetics and biochemistry of oxygen regulated gene expression and transcription activation

Robert Kirchdoerfer

Biochemistry Department

Single-particle cryo-electron microscopy of viral proteins

Bruce Klein

Pediatrics Department

Immunology and pathogenesis of diseases due to fungi

Laura Knoll

Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department

Pathogenesis and developmental regulation in the parasite toxoplasma

Mark Mandel

Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department

Genetic analysis of bacterial colonization

Megan McClean

Biomedical Engineering Department

Biological signal processing

Donna Neumann

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Department

3D chromatin control of DNA viruses

Aurelie Rakotondrafara

Plant Pathology Department

RNA, translation, plant virus, IRES, viral resistance

Srivatsan Raman

Biochemistry Department

Synthetic biology, protein design, metabolic engineering, allostery, directed evolution

Jennifer Reed

Chemical & Biological Engineering Department

Biological network modeling of microbial systems

Philip Romero

Biochemistry Department

Protein engineering

Wilmara Salgado-Pabon

Pathobiological Sciences Department

S. aureus enterotoxin targeting of vascular endothelium

John-Demian (JD) Sauer

Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department

Host-pathogen interactions

Nathaniel Sharp

Genetics Department

Spontaneous mutation rate and spectrum

Erin Silva

Plant Pathology Department

Soil biology, soil ecology, food safety

Ophelia Venturelli

Biochemistry Department

Systems and synthetic biology of genetic regulatory networks and microbial ecosystems

Jade Wang

Stress and genome integrity in bacteria

Stress and genome integrity in bacteria

Elizabeth Wright

Biochemistry Department

Cryo-electron microscopy of biological macromolecular machines