Dr. Mark A. Gallo
Assistant Professor of Biology
Dr. Gallo obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of Pittsburgh. He then obtained a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Norman Curthoys analyzing transcriptional control of many key liver and kidney enzymes, especially those that are affected by chronic and acute metabolic acidosis.
Dr. Gallo then went to Cornell University where he studied under Robert P. Mortlock. It was there where he was introduced to the world of microbes. His thesis research involved the analysis of novel metabolic pathways for the degradation of five carbon sugars in the Enterobacteriaceae. His studies also included studies of "evolution in the test tube."
Dr. Gallo then went on to a post-doctoral position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in C. Richard Hutchinson's lab, where he studied the genes necessary for the synthesis of daunorubicin/doxorubicin/adriamycin. These valuable anti-tumor agents are synthesized by Streptomyces peucetius. While in Wisconsin, he was also on the faculty for the Biology Honor's BioCore program.
Dr. Gallo has several research interests. He continues to work with Streptomyces. His students have produced a low-density microarray, corresponding to key genes of many major secondary metabolite production pathways as well as traditional housekeeping genes and other regions along the chromosome. Dr. Gallo is interested in exploring synteny in the chromosome in the genus Streptomyces and examining the location of secondary metabolite genes in this diverse family of organisms.
For the past several years Dr. Gallo has been investigating the genetic composition and most notably the antibiotic resistance profile of Staphylococci from cattle and white tail deer.;; Mastitis is a major problem in the dairy industry and Staph infection is one of the primary causes.; It is costly to the farm as the cow must be taken out of production for treatment, and unfortunately it is not always successful, resulting in the loss of the animal.
Dr. Gallo has been active in the scholarship of teaching and learning. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology Scholars in Residence program and has continued to create favorable learning environments for students of all ages. He has a long distinguished record of hosting science camps for students and teachers from the K-12 community and is currently the chair of the K-12 committee for the American Society for Microbiology. In addition, Dr. Gallo has frequently presented at the National Association for Biology Teachers and the National Science Teachers Association annual meetings.
In his spare time, Dr. Gallo has become a landowner. Along the way, he has become quite the barn collector, in that he has begun to disassemble several old timber frame barns from various distant locations that he intends to re-erect with the intention of sharing the beauty of these old buildings with anyone who wants to see them. He may try his hand at making wine too as his land has several acres of grapes although he can't use his surname for the winery for obvious reasons!
I am involved in two major projects that both deal directly with antibiotics. Project one involves the genetic characterization of Staphylococci strains from white tail deer. Staphylococci are found in many environmental and clinical settings. S. aureus is a pathogen that has become more of a problem in the clinical and agricultural setting due to antibiotic resistance. This study involves a molecular characterization of the level of antibiotic resistance in Staphylococci in the nasal passages of whitetail deer. It is anticipated that the research will provide clues regarding antibiotic resistance and the genes involved, the types of genes found, and the prevalence and distribution of such genes in the various isolates. The study will involve further characterization at the genomic level through the use of comparative genomic hybridization via microarrays. The microarrays will be scanned to compare a number of common housekeeping genes, numerous antibiotic resistance genes, as well as markers for conserved as well as highly variable regions of the genome. Project two involves the characterization of Streptomyces isolates for antibiotic production genes. Many strains of Streptomyces will be analyzed by using microarray technology. This will be accomplished by amplifying sequences along the length of the S. avermitilis and S. coelicolor genomes that flank secondary metabolite and antibiotic resistance genes as well as housekeeping genes, which should serve as an internal positive control as all strains should have these sequences. The genomes of S. avermitilis and S. coelicolor have been sequenced, therefore this study will allow a comparison of the genomic DNA of other Streptomyces that produce important medicinally-important compounds as well as laboratory-isolated strains of Streptomyces genera to which there has been no molecular characterization. Microarrays were made by spotting the previously described PCR products and hybridizing labeled genomic DNA isolated from strains purchased for the project as well as uncharacterized strains isolated from the environment. The purpose of the project is thus twofold. The first is comparison of the phylogeny of Streptomyces determined using rRNA sequence data with the data obtained by microarray analysis. Secondly, this knowledge it allows for analysis of previously uncharacterized strains for putative secondary metabolite and antibiotic resistant genes by examining them for the presence or absence of characteristic sequences that flank these genes.
B.S. Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Pittsburgh
M.S. Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh Medical School
Ph.D. Microbiology, Cornell University
Post-doctoral fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Chair of American Society for Microbiology K-12 education division; Lewiston Kiwanis member.