Melanie Griffin

Photo of Melanie Griffin

Assistant Professor of Biology
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
College of Science and Mathematics 

What Microbiologist Do?

(Source: Microbe World) Microbiologists work in almost every industry - from food, agriculture and pollution control to biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and health. They also work in government agencies and labs, such as the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, water treatment facilities, and hospitals. They also work in education as teachers and researchers. Because there are so many different species of microbes out there and they do such very different things, no one microbiologist can study everything! That's why people who become microbiologists usually focus on a particular microbe or research area. Here are a few examples: Some microbiologists focus on bacteria and how they help or hurt us. These scientists are called bacteriologists. Some specialize in viruses and how they infect cells. These scientists are called virologists. Some study fungi in particular and are called mycologists. Some microbiologists track down outbreaks of disease to learn what caused them and if we're facing a deadly new microbe. They are called epidemiologists. Some study how the body defends itself against microbial invaders. They are called immunologists. This is only a partial listing of the many different things microbiologists do. If you really want to get a good sense of what microbiologists do, you should talk to some of them. You might start with the microbiology professors here at KSU - Drs. Jerald Hendrix, Don McGarey, Jean Lu or myself.

Courses
2261/L Fundamental Microbiology with Lab
4460/L Medical Microbiology with Lab

Research
Haemophilus influenzae species annually cause serious infection in 300 million people worldwide and kill 400,000 - 700,000 children each year (source: World Health Organization). Gram-negative H. flu (as H. influenzae is commonly referred) falls into two categories: capsulated and unencapsulated. Six serotypes, A-F, have been identified in the encapsulated class. In 1987, a successful conjugate vaccine was developed for H. flu serotype B (Hib). Since then, no other vaccine has been developed for the remaining serogroups nor for the nonencapsulated class of H. influenzae. A better understanding of the mechanism of H. influenzae pathogenesis may lead to a more suitable target for a diverse therapy.

Current Directed Study Activity

Current Students and Projects:
Host-cell tissue specificity study of Haemophilus influenzae: D. Bennett Grinsfelder and Emma O. Achilefu
Identification of an Unknown Skin Isolate: Sahar Mahzoon

Future Directed Study Opportunities
Positions will be available for directed-study with me beginning Spring 2008. Stay tuned....

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