What's Inside

Microbiology Home

Make a Gift to Microbiology

Quick Links:

Available Positions

Laboratory Safety Information

MICaB Invited Speaker Seminar Series

CIDMTR Seminar Series

MNPI Administrative Center

Contact Us:

Dept of Microbiology
University of Minnesota
MMC 196
420 Delaware St, SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
Phone: 612-624-6190
Fax: 612-626-0623

Department Administrator:
Colleen O'Neill
Phone: 612-624-2468

Above is an image from an experiment in which herpes simplex virus-infected monkey cells were fused (using a special reagent) to uninfected mouse cells. The purpose was to see if a particular viral protein is exported from infected cell nuclei (in which case it would pick it up in the mouse nucleus). This particular image reveals the nuclei (blue) using a DNA stain and the cytoskeleton (green) using an actin stain.

In the News

Associate Professor Jeff Gralnick's research on bacteria found in the Soudan Mine that produce rust without exposure to oxygen was noted in a recent article in the Minnesota Daily.  

Emeritus Professor Martin Dworkin, Ph.D.passed away on February 6, 2014. Dr. Dworkin joined the department in the fall of 1962 and for more than four decades had a tremendous impact on undergraduate and graduate students as the consummate professor. Even after his retirement in 2003, he remained active in department and University initiatives. He is and will be well remembered by the Department and University for his inquisitive mind, as a passionate scholar who embraced the entire field of microbiology, and as a colleague whom we will all miss greatly.   

Marc Jenkins' groundbreaking 1994 publication "Visualization of peptide-specific T cell immunity and peripheral tolerance induction in vivo" (Immunity 1:327-339, 1994) was featured as a Pillar of Immunology in the December 1, 2013 issue of the Journal of Immunology. 

Professor Emeritus  P. Patrick Cleary was elected an honorary member of the Institute of Experimental Medicine (aka the Pavlov Institute) in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The Institute is one of many that make up the Russian Academy Sciences.  Notable past honorary members include Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch and Joseph Lister.  Dr. Cleary received the award on December 19, 2013.

The 2001 Science article "Preferential Localization of Effector Memory Cells in Nonlymphoid Tissue" (2001; 291:2413-2417) presenting work done by David Masopust, Vaiva Vezys and Amanda Marzo with Leo Lefrancois was among 2 highlighted as a Pillar of Immunology by Susan Kaech in the Journal of Immunology (2014; 192:837-839).

Groundbreaking for the new MRF building:


MICROBIOLOGY Groundbreaking 1

Why is this Department Head smiling?

Because the new Microbiology Research Facility is underway!

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new microbiology research building, scheduled to open in 2015, took place on Friday, November 8, 2013.  Pictured below are just some of the University leaders, including President Eric Kaler, who joined Dr. Haase in the ceremonial shoveling.  The new building will be located to the north of the just-opened Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building, and will be the final addition to the Biomedical Discovery District.

MICROBIOLOGY Groundbreaking 3



 Professors Jeff Gralnick and Daniel Bond were featured in a UMNews story: "Electrifying Potential."

Assistant Professor Kirsten Nielsen discussed fungal meningitis in this November 1st, 2012 online MinnPost article.  


MICROBIOLOGY Graduates 2012 

Kirsten Nielsen and Laura Okagaki's Eukaryotic Cell paper was highlighted in the June 2012 Nature Reviews Microbiology Journal.

Jeff Gralnick, Associate Professor, received the College of Biological Sciences' 2012 Stanley Dagley-Samuel Kirkwood Undergraduate Education Award.

Graduate student Laura Okagaki received a DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics from the Genetics Society of America. This is a highly competitive national award for graduate students and postdoctoral trainees that supports travel costs for young geneticists to attend national and international meetings and enroll in laboratory courses. Laura will be using her award to attend the Keystone Global Health Symposia Series - Fungal Pathogens: From Basic Biology to Drug Discovery and the 112th ASM General Meeting.

In an article in the November 2011 issue of Eukaryotic Cell, graduate student Laura Okagaki et al. identified the environmental sensing pathway that regulates titan cell formation upon inhalation by the host - as highlighted in the November issue of Microbe.

We are pleased to announce that Anna Tischler, Ph.D. joined the department as an Assistant Professor on August 29, 2011.

Professor Jeff Gralnick explores unusual microbes in the Minnesota Soudan Mine.

Professor Daniel Bond is quoted in Cosmos Magazine in an article on the subject of electricity and microbes.

Congratulations to Prof. Leslie Schiff  on her well-deserved selection as this year’s John S. Anderson Academic Leadership Award recipient. The award, which recognizes exemplary contributions to the life of the College of Biological Sciences, will be presented to Leslie at the CBS Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 14, 2011.

Congratulations to MICaB graduate student Ming Zeng of the Haase lab who was awarded a 2011 Beatrice Z. Milne and Theodore Brandenburg Award for exceptional research by graduate students in the basic biomedical sciences.

Mark T. Anderson, a 2007 Ph.D. graduate of the Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology Graduate Program, trained in the Department of Microbiology in Sandra Armstrong’s laboratory. Currently a postdoctoral fellow in Hank Seifert’s laboratory at Northwestern University, Mark recently discovered the first evidence of gene transfer from a human host to a bacterial pathogen- in this case, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative agent of the sexually-transmitted human disease, gonorrhea. It is thought that this human-to-bacterium gene transfer is a recent evolutionary event. This remarkable discovery raises questions about the evolution of pathogens and the biological significance of horizontal DNA transfer between host and pathogen. These results were recently published in the journal mBio (pdf)and have gained the attention of both the scientific community and the popular press.

Microbiology and BioTechnology Institute faculty member Jeff Gralnick was interviewed by Carl Zimmer as part of ASM's Meet the Scientist series of podcasts. Follow this link to learn more about how bacteria generate electric currents in the soil and water and how engineers may be able to harness that ability to power technology.

In a recent PLoS Pathogens (PDF), Assistant Professor Kirsten Nielsen and colleagues describe a novel mechanism by which Cryptococcus neoformans, a common life-threatening fungal pathogen, evades the host immune system. The cryptococcal cells alter their morphology and produce enlarged “titan” cells. These titan cells have reduced phagocytosis by host mononuclear immune cells, increased resistance to oxidative and nitrosative stress, and are correlated with reduced penetration of the central nervous system.  As Dr. Nielsen explains, this work indicates that “Titan cell production may slow the host’s attempts to quarantine and clear the infection, explaining why these infections are so difficult to eradicate once established.” 

In a recent issue of the Journal of Immunology (PDF), Hélène Bour-Jordan and Jeffery A. Bluestone announced that the journal has added the 1987 Journal of Experimental Medicine paper (PDF) and (Commentary) PDF by Marc Jenkins and Ronald Schwartz to its Pillars of Immunology series. The JEM paper is notable for opening the field of T cell anergy and costimulation. Dr. Jenkins is Associate Director of the Center for Immunology and a Distinguished McKnight Professor of Microbiology.

Congratulations to David Masopust, Vaiva Vezys and former postdoc Chris Kristich - all recipients of NIH New Innovator Awards. 
U of M News
"Bruce Albert's editorial on incentives for innovation"

Graduate student, Laura Okagaki, received two very prestigious awards for her poster at the 25th Fungal Genetics Conference last week:

Genetics Society of America Poster Award. Only five of these awards are typically given each meeting (for the almost 700 posters presented) and include a cash award.

Outstanding Young Investigator Award.
This award is presented by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and ten awards were presented. The award includes a certificate and a one-year subscription to Eukaryotic Cell.

Laura's advisor, Dr. Kirsten Nielsen commented: "Both of these awards are highly competitive (open to both graduate students and post-docs) so to receive both of them is outstanding!"

Dr. Leslie Schiff was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology and will be recognized for this honor at the 2009 ASM General Meeting. The Academy recognizes excellence, originality, and creativity in the microbiology sciences. Other departmental faculty in the Academy include Judith Berman, Patrick Cleary, Gary Dunny, Martin Dworkin, Russell Johnson, Mike Sadowsky and Patrick Schlievert.




Profs. Gralnick and Bond - "Building Better Bacteria"

Microbiology professors Daniel Bond and Jeff Gralnick discover the key for converting waste to electricity.
University News Service

Check out the publication:
Shewanella secretes flavins that mediate extracellular electron transfer


See Photos from August 2009 Microbiology Retreat

See Photos from the Microbiology Retreat in August 2010

Affiliated Centers and Institutes:









Notice of Privacy Practices