Professor Microbiology and Immunology
I received my Ph.D. degree in Microbiology from Kansas State University in 1979 under the mentorship of John J. Iandolo, Ph.D. I then performed post-doctoral studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, NC. Under the mentorship of P.F. Sparling, M.D. I studied the mechanisms by which Neisseria gonorrhoeae can develop resistance to killing by human serum. In 1982 I moved to Emory University School of Medicine where I am now Professor of Microbiology and Immunology as well as Senior Research Career Scientist at the Atlanta VA Hospital. I am also Director of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Therapeutic Discovery Training Program and Co-director of the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center. My laboratory is engaged in research dealing with the mechanisms used by the sexually transmitted pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeaeto develop resistance to antibiotics used by clinicians in the treatment of gonorrhea and antimicrobial compounds produced by the host during infection. The gonococcus causes over 87million cases of gonorrhea worldwide each year and many strains causing disease are now resistant to multiple antibiotics. There is now considerable concern that unless new antibiotics are developed, gonorrhea may become an untreatable disease in the nottoodistant future. With grant support from the NIH and VA since 1984, my group studies how gonococci avoid the antibacterial action of cationic antimicrobial peptides that participate in innate host defense and how they employ a drug efflux pump to export antimicrobials including antibiotics.