FDA Logo Link U.S. Food and Drug AdministrationNational Center for Toxicological Research
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Director: Carl E. Cerniglia, Ph.D.

The Division of Microbiology at NCTR serves a multipurpose function with specialized expertise to perform fundamental and applied research in microbiology. The Division of Microbiology also responds to microbial surveillance and diagnostic needs for research projects within NCTR and FDA.  The Division of Microbiology has a multidisciplinary staff including 14 research scientists and 17 research support staff, postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate and graduate students, visiting scientists, and program support specialists. The Microbiology Division has the staff and the facilities to help address the scientific challenges encountered by FDA and other government organizations. Some examples of the research projects within the Division and collaborative research with scientists from other NCTR Divisions, FDA Centers, academic institutions, industry, and other federal agencies are described below. Projects are based on FDA priorities and programmatic expertise. The research program is divided into five focal areas:

1.  Food safety, food biosecurity, and methods development
2.  Antimicrobial resistance in foodborne and commensal bacteria
3.  Intestinal microflora and host interactions
4.  Environmental biotechnology
5.  Microbiological surveillance and diagnostic support of research

Ongoing research projects in the Division of Microbiology include:

  • Elucidation of the mechanism of resistance development in anaerobic bacteria from the human intestinal tract
  • Proteomic approaches to elucidate biodegradative pathways
  • Molecular epidemiology and characterization of multiple antibiotic-resistance Salmonella isolated from turkey production environment
  • Development of proteomic approaches to identify Staphylococcal aureus extracellular proteins responsible for Staphylococcal pneumonia
  • Genomic approaches to determine the role of skin microflora in the metabolism of tattoo dyes
  • Molecular characterization of Salmonella spp. and Vibrio spp.  isolated from seafood and development of microarray detection methods
  • Evaluation of the mechanisms of inactivation and degradation of third generation cephalosporins by the intestinal microflora
  • Ceftiofur degradation in gnotobiotic mice
  • Microbial degradation of fluoroquinolone antimicrobial agents
  • Biotransformation of isoflavonoid phytoestrogens by colonic microfloras of experimental animals
  • Protective effect of vaginal lactobacillus species against Staphylococcus aureus-mediated toxic shock syndrome
  • Antimicrobial resistance genetics of “emerging” Salmonella enterica serovar javiana phenotypes involved in clinical and food-related outbreaks
  • Assessment of effects and metabolism of synthetic azo colorants used in women’s cosmetics on human skin microbiota
  • Gene expression responses of estrogen-primed vaginal epithelial cells after contact with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14, and the pathogenic fungus, Candida albicans
  •  The survival of Bacillus anthracis in processed liquid eggs

The NCTR Research Plans and Accomplishments Document contains information on the latest accomplishments and plans for the Division of Microbiology as well as project and publication listings.

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