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Dr. Michael Norris

Dr. Michael Norris

Research Assistant Professor

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(352) 273-8445 

Focus Area

Research Statement:

I have studied Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei (the etiological agents of glanders and melioidosis, respectively) for the past 12 years at the University of Hawaii and the University of Florida and the recent year studying Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis. Initially I spent a few years developing genetic tools for use in Brucella spp. which cause the zoonotic disease brucellosis. I have extensive expertise in bacterial genetics, cell culture, animal models, gene expression techniques, pathogenesis modeling, bacterial physiology, and immunology. The past 12 years I have worked with bacteria requiring high-containment BSL3/ABSL3 facilities and published on these organisms. A great deal of my work has focused on characterizing virulence factors and assessing the downstream effects on virulence. My current research has focused on the host-responses and molecular mechanisms involved in host-pathogen interactions. These are the strengths I bring to the multi-disciplinary team of the Spatial Epidemiology and Ecology Research (SEER) Lab at the Emerging Pathogens Institute and the Medical Geography in Global Health program at the Department of Geography at the University of Florida. Our strengths combined place us in a unique situation where we have the materials, expertise, and facilities to enable important discoveries in pathogen emergence and global health.

Recent Funded Projects

  • University of Florida-Emerging Pathogens Institute Seed fund award- $52,000 seed fund for research, February 1, 2016-present Title: Diverse Bp LPS Differentially Contribute to the Immunopathogenesis of Melioidosis.
  • National Science Foundation Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Research Traineeship (IGERT) pre-doctoral fellowship, awarded by the National Science Foundation (Bethesda, Maryland) on August 30, 2008, re-awarded on August 30, 2009, and a continuing award from August 30, 2010 until March 1, 2011. Title: IGERT: Integrative Training in Ecology, Conservation and Pathogen Biology.

Recent Publications

Weppelman, T.A., Norris, M.H., von Fricken, M.E., Khan, M.S., Okech, B.A., Cannella, A.Schweizer H.P., Sanford, D. and Tuanyok, A. Seroepidemiology of Burkholderia pseudomallei, Etiologic Agent of Melioidosis, in the Ouest and Sud-Est Departments of Haiti . American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. (2018) doi:10.4269/ajtmh.18-0352

Norris, M.H., Somprasong, N., Schweizer, H.P., Tuanyok, A. Lipid A Remodeling Is a Pathoadaptive Mechanism That Impacts Lipopolysaccharide Recognition and Intracellular Survival of Burkholderia pseudomallei. Infection and Immunity. (2018) 86:10 e00360-18. doi:10.1128/IAI.00360-18

Chirakul, S., Norris, M.H., Somprasong, N., Pagdepanichkit, S. Shirley, J.F., Borlee, B.R., Lomovskaya, O., Tuanyok, A., and Schweizer, H.P. Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of PenA ß-lactamase in acquired Burkholderia pseudomallei ß-lactam resistance. Scientific Reports. (2018) 8:10652. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-28843-7

Norris, M.H., Khan, M.S., Chirakul, S., Schweizer, H.P. and Tuanyok, A. Outer Membrane Vesicle Vaccines from Biosafe Surrogates Prevent Acute Lethal Glanders in Mice. Special Issue: Vaccines Against Chronic and Persistent Bacterial Infections. Vaccines. (2018) 6(1), 5. doi:10.3390/vaccines6010005

Educational Background

  • PhD in Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, 2014
  • B.S. in Biology, University of Texas at Austin, 2004