Personal profile

Research Interests

Research Topics

Enzymology, Genetics, Membrane Biology, Microbial Physiology, Regulation of Gene Expression

Disease Research Interests

Infectious Diseases


B.A. (Biology), California State University, 1965
Ph.D. (Molecular Biology), University of California, Irvine, 1968
Postdoctoral (Biochemistry), Washington University School of Medicine, 1968-1970

Professional Information

Genetic approaches to regulation of lipid metabolism; synthesis and attachment of biotin and lipoic acid

My laboratory works in two main areas-regulation of lipid metabolism and synthesis and attachment of fatty acid related enzyme cofactors. In both areas, the organism studied is Escherichia coli due to its sophisticated genetics and simple lipid composition. However we also study a variety of gram positive bacteria. We have studied mechanisms that regulate the composition of the membrane phospholipids of E. coli and are currently concerned how this organism regulates lipid synthesis such that it is neither "fat nor lean." Although, E. coli is the paradigm for bacterial lipid synthesis there are bacteria that are missing genes that are in essential for E. coli growth.  We are in process of figuring out which proteins these bacteria use in place of those used by E. coli.  This has practical consequences because bacterial fatty acid synthesis is the target of several newly developed antibiotics.  We have found that two key coenzymes, how lipoic acid and biotin, found in all three domains of life require the fatty acid synthetic pathway for their synthesis.   We have determined how E. coli makes these coenzymes and are now expanding into the pathways found in other bacteria.

Honors & Awards

Member, National Academy of Sciences
Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology
University Scholar
Microbiology Alumni Endowed Professorship

Office Address

601 S Goodwin Ave
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Phone

(217) 333-7919


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