The 1990s

Stuart Levy, a hematologist who had trained in medicine and biochemical genetics at NIH and had held a secondary appointment in Molecular Biology and Microbiology since 1971, joined our department in 1990 as a full member, bringing together his research efforts in bacterial and human drug resistance, along with his Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance.

When Schaechter retired from the Chairmanship in 1993 after 23 years, Sonenshein served as Acting Chair while a national search for a new chair was carried out.  The search committee's first choice, Catherine Squires, agreed to move from Columbia University to Tufts in 1994.  Squires, a well-known and highly respected microbial geneticist and biochemist, had trained at UC Davis with John Ingraham, at UC Santa Barbara with Nancy Lee, and at Stanford with Charles Yanofsky.  Squires, who had a reputation as an Elvis fan, acquired a fun collection of Elvis memorabilia from folks at Tufts and elsewhere. She and her husband Craig, already owned a farm in Winters, CA where they raised goats and seed crops.

Her arrival signaled a new round of faculty hiring, leading in 1996 to the recruitment of Andrew Camilli and David Lazinski.  Camilli, a pathogenic microbiologist studying Vibrio cholerae and Streptococcus pneumoniae, was a student of Daniel Portnoy at the University of Pennsylvania and a postdoctoral fellow with John Mekalanos at Harvard Medical School. Camilli, a long distance runner, ran in the Boston Marathon of 1999. Photos of his performance appeared on several giant billboards around Boston for months thereafter as part of an advertisement for athletic wear.  Lazinski came from the Fox Chase Cancer Research Center, where he had begun a detailed investigation of the hepatitis delta virus with John Taylor.  Lazinski left the faculty in 2005. A third new faculty member, Joan Mecsas, opened her lab in November 1999, after completing graduate training at the University of Wisconsin with Carol Gross and postdoctoral training with Stanley Falkow at Stanford Medical School.  Mecsas is an expert on infection by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and is especially interested in the pathway this bacterium takes as it makes its way through an animal’s immune and lymphatic systems. 

Molecular Microbiology PhD


Our department is the administrative home of the Molecular Microbiology PhD Program of the Sackler School