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Division of Microbiology and Infection Seminar


21 January 2014, 12.00pm-1.00pm, GLT4, Warwick Medical School Building, University of Warwick

Title: Population genomics in a high recombination pathogen – Burkholderia pseudomallei


Professor Paul S Keim, Director, Regents Professor and The Cowden Endowed Chair of Microbiology, Northern Arizona University, and The Translational Genomics Research Institute


keim.jpgPaul Keim holds the E. Raymond and Ruth Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology at Northern Arizona University (NAU), where he is also a Regents Professor of Biology. In addition, he directs the Pathogen Genomics Division at The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). Both institutions are based in Flagstaff, Arizona. His biological interests span many types of organisms and microbes, but revolve around genetic diversity and its organization in populations and species. This necessarily has involved systematic and phylogenetic analyses to understand how observable genetic diversity is based upon past evolutionary processes. Biodefense programs have capitalized upon his approach of using genomic analysis to understand bacterial pathogen populations for microbial forensics and molecular epidemiological analyses. His laboratory was heavily involved in analysis of evidentiary material from the 2001 anthrax-letter attacks. He has published extensively on the evolution and population genetics of Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Burkholderia mallei, Brucella spp., and Coxiella burnetii. Recently, these same principles have been applied to other public health-related and clinically important pathogens such as S. aureus and E. coli. In all, he has published over 230 scientific or policy papers.

Paul received his B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Northern Arizona University in 1977 and his Ph.D. in Botany in 1981 from the University of Kansas. His graduate work was focused on the biochemistry of plant hormones and growth regulators, in particular cytokinins. Making a dramatic career switch to bacterial genetics and genomics, he did postdoctoral work with Gordon Lark at the University of Utah from 1981 to 1987. It was here that he became immersed in bacterial genetics and eventually genomics, through the characterization of the low homology E. coli recE and the lambda phage Red recombination systems. A second postdoctoral stint at Iowa State University was devoted to soybean genetics and genome mapping using novel molecular tools to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL). He has been a faculty member at Northern Arizona University since 1989, working on the genetic analysis of diverse species.

Paul has previously served on the editorial boards of Crop Science and Molecular Breeding; he currently serves on the editorial boards of Infection Genetics and Evolution, Investigative Genetics, and Biotechniques.