Michael R. Davis Jr.


Ph.D. 2013 University of Virginia (Microbiology)
B.S. 2003 University of Virginia (Biology)

Courses I teach
Introduction to Organisms, Introduction to Cells, Microbiology, Cell & Molecular Biology, Biology of Infectious Disease


I am currently investigating mechanisms of gene regulation in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This Gram-negative bacterium is responsible for over 90% of deaths in patients with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disorder that renders these patients prone to fatal bacterial respiratory infections, as well as a wide variety of other deleterious conditions. P. aeruginosa infections in CF patients are lifelong and nearly impossible to eradicate due to acquired and intrinsic antibiotic resistances, highlighting the need for an understanding the mechanisms of pathogenesis of this species. I am interested in regulation of genes involved in the synthesis of two polysaccharide virulence factors of P. aeruginosa — lipopolysaccharide and alginate. These two polysaccharides are critical to the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa and their expression in the CF lung changes as the infection progresses to a chronic state. My previous work suggests changes in a transcriptional program is responsible for this change, and experiments are underway to test this hypothesis.



Damron FH, Davis Jr MR, Withers TR, Ernst RK, Goldberg JB, Yu G, and Yu HD. 2011. Vanadate and triclosan synergistically induce alginate production by Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1. Mol. Microbiol.  81:554-570. (2011)

Lieberman TD,  Michel JB, Aingaran M, Potter-Bynoe G, Roux D, Davis Jr MR, Skurnik D, Leiby N, Lipuma JJ, Goldberg JB, McAdam AJ, Priebe GP, Kishony R.   Parallel bacterial evolution within multiple patients ties novel genes to pathogenesis. Nat Genet 43(12):1275-80 (2011).

Skurnik D, Davis Jr MR, Benedetti D, Moravec KL, Cywes-Bentley C, Roux D, Traficante DC, Walsh RL, Maira-Litràn T, Cassidy SB, Hermos CR, Martin TR, Thakkallapalli EL, Vargas SO, McAdam AJ, Lieberman TD, Kishony R, LiPuma JJ, Pier GB, Goldberg JB, Priebe GP. Targeting pan-resistant bacteria with antibodies to a broadly conserved surface polysaccharide expressed during infection. J Infect Dis. 43(12):1275-80 (2012)

Davis Jr MR, and Goldberg JB. Description of a hot aqueous-phenol method for purification and visualization of lipopolysaccharide from Gram-negative bacteria.  Journal Vis Exp28;(63) (2012).

Davis Jr MR, Muszyński A, Lollet IV, Pritchett C, Carlson RW and Goldberg JB.  Identification of the Mutation Responsible for the Temperature-Sensitive O-Antigen Defect in the Pseudomonas aeruginosa Cystic Fibrosis Isolate 2192.  J Bacteriol 195(7):1504-14 (2013).

Abstracts and posters

Davis, MR and Goldberg, JB.  “Identification of the pga locus of Burkholderia dolosa strain AU0158.”  Presented at the 2007 Mid-Atlantic Microbial Pathogenesis Meeting.  Wintergreen, VA

Davis, MR, Benedetti, D, Goldberg, JB, and Priebe, GP.  “Burkholderia dolosa expresses the polysaccharide poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG).”  Presented at 2007 International Burkholderia cepacia Working Group Meeting.  Ann Arbor, MI.

 Bondi, SK, Davis, MR, Bhatnagar, A, Benedetti, D, Priebe, GP, Sifri, CD and Goldberg, JB.  “Burkholderia cepacia pgaC, a gene involved in the synthesis of the polysaccharide poly-N-acetyl glucosamine, is required for virulence in C. elegans.”  Presented at the 2008 International Burkholderia cepacia Working Group Meeting.  Treviso, Italy

Bondi, SK, Bhatnagar, A, Davis, MR, Goldberg, JB, Sifri, CD. “Burkholderia cenocepacia pgaC, a putative b-1,6-polymeric N-acetyl glucosamine biosynthetic gene, is required for virulence in C. elegans.” Presented at the 2008 American Society for Microbiology General Meeting.  Boston, MA.

Davis, MR, Bhatnagar, A, Bondi, SK, Perez, NM, Brassinga, AKC, Goldberg, JB, and Sifri, CD.  2009. The role of pgaC, a gene involved in the biosynthesis of poly-N-acetyl-glucosamine, in Burkholderia cenocepacia biofilm formation and infection of C. elegans.  Presented at the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Microbial Pathogenesis Meeting. Wintergreen, VA.

Skurnik, D, Davis, MR, Benedetti, D, Moravec, KL, Traficante, DC, Walsh, RL, Cywes-Bentley, C, Cassidy, SB, LiPuma, JJ, Maira-Litràn, T, Pier, GB, Goldberg, JB and Priebe, GP.  2010.  Antibodies to the conserved bacterial surface polysaccharide poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG) are protective against the Burkholderia cepacia complex and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.  Abstracts from the 2010 Annual Meeting of the International Burkholderia cepacia Working Group, Seattle, Washington,

Damron, FH, Davis, MR, Ernst, RK, Goldberg, JB and Yu, HD.  2011.  Alginate overproduction in Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1 induced after growth on media containing triclosan and ammonium metavanadate.  Presented at the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Microbial Pathogenesis Meeting, Wintergreen, VA.

Davis, MR and Goldberg, JB.   Characterization of the O-antigen locus of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa chronic infection isolate.  Presented at the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Microbial Pathogenesis Meeting.  Wintergreen, VA.