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Faculty and Staff Biography
Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Ohio State University, 1991
B.S. in Biology from St. Mary's College, 1985
Microbiology and Immunology
My main research focuses on Staphylococcus aureus and some of its virulence factors. Methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is very central to my research. MRSA appears to be everywhere and it is a very serious pathogen. If not affected directly, most people have at least become aware of MRSA through social media reporting the debilitating and often life threating infections of famous people such as star athletes. My studies involve the characterization of MRSA strains collected from both athletes as well as students who are not associated with sports. The results confirm what we already know that no one is immune from MRSA but the variability of the strains is quite surprising. These strains are being characterized at the molecular and biochemical levels to try to understand the invasiveness of these organisms and the traits that allow them to evolve so rapidly. Many but not all of the isolated strains produce the enzyme DNase. I am looking at the role that DNase may play in species variation including the acquisition of DNA encoding antibiotic resistance or other virulence factors.