Texas Tech University

Michael J. San-Francisco

Dean, Honors College


Phone: 1(806)834-1449

Professor:Molecular Microbiology; Microbe-Host Interactions

Academic Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Texas Tech Health Sciences (TTUHSC) 

Director, Clark Scholars Program, www.clarkscholars.ttu.edu

Associate Program Director,
Texas Tech University/Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Program, www.hhmi.ttu.edu

2014 - Present
 Dean, Honors College
2012-12/2013 Interim Vice President for Research
   Associate Vice President for Research

  • Ph.D., Biology, Boston University (1984)
  • M.S., Biology, Boston University (1980)
  • B.Sc, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India (1977)
Dr. San Francisco

Research Interests

Fungal-Host Interactions: We are studying the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that has been implicated in the global decline of amphibians.  Our particular interests are in studying essential components of early events of the fungal-frog interaction.  Components of the chytrid virulence arsenal and how it survives in the absence of its host are of great interest. We have identified several proteases produced by the fungus and are also studying fungal developmental transitions (from motile zoospore to walled sporangium) in pathogenic and free-living contexts. We are also interested in biofilm formation of the fungus and its implications to survival and toxin resistance.

We have active collaborations studying the frog skin microbiome and are developing tools to further molecular biological studies of this fungus. 

Bacterial-Host Interactions: We are currently studying the plant pathogen DIckyea dadantii 3937 (Erwinia chrysanthemi) that infects a wide variety of plants and plant products. We are interested in the molecular basis of the early events in the microbe-plant interaction, specifically how the bacterium recognizes the plant environment and what strategies the bacterium uses to defend itself against toxic plant chemicals. During plant infections, signaling molecules of plant origin are mobilized to amplify plant defense processes. We are interested in how this bacterial pathogen co-opts these molecules to up-regulate efflux pump gene expression. Efflux pumps in bacteria play an important role in resistance to antimicrobial agents. These studies will help us understand how the bacterium "interprets" chemical signals from the plant and enhances expression of genes that encode efflux pumps resulting in multi drug resistance and survival in the plant.

Research projects in our laboratory use physiological, biochemical, molecular and bioinformatics approaches to study transport across bacterial membranes and regulation of genes encoding transport protein components.  We have collaborated with an international team to annotate the genome sequence of this pathogen.

Selected Publications

  • Thekkiniath J, S San Francisco, M Zabet K Rao. M Pasham and MJ San Francisco, Quantitative proteomics of an amphibian pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis following exposure to thyroid hormone (PloS One)-In PRESS (4/2015).
  • Thekkiniath J, M Zabet-Moghaddam, SK San Francisco and MJ San Francisco, 2013. A novel subtilisin-like serine protease of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is induced by thyroid hormone and degrades antimicrobial peptides. Fungal Biol 117:451-461
  • Pan X, KM Ochoa, MJ San Francisco, SB Cox, K Dixon TA Anderson and GP Cobb, 2013.  Absorption, distribution, and biotransformation of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,4-triazine in B6C3F1 Mice (Mus musculus). Env Tox and Chem 32:1295-1303.
  • Charkowski A, Blanco C, Condemine G, et al. MJ San Francisco, et al. 2012. The role of secretion systems and small molecules in soft-rot Enterobacteriaceae pathogenicity. Annu Rev Phytopathol. 50:425-449
  • Phillips CD, G Phelan, SE Dowd, MM McDonough, AW Ferguson, JD Hanson, L Siles, N Ordonez-Garcia, M San Francisco, RJ Baker, 2012. Microbiome analysis among bats describes influences on host phylogeny, life history, physiology and geography. Mol. Ecol doi 10.1111/j/1365-294X2012.05568x.
  • Shapard EJ, AS Moss and MJ San Francisco, 2012. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis can infect and cause mortality in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Mycopatholiga 173:121-126.
  • Glasner JD, CH Yang, S Reverchon, N Hugouvieux-Cotte-Pattat, G Condemine, JP Bohin, F Van Gijsegem, S Yang, T Franza, D Expert,G  Plunkett 3rd, MJ San Francisco, AO Charkowski, et al., FR Blattner, NT Keen, NT Perna , 2011. Genome sequence of the plant pathogenic bacterium Dickeya dadantii 3937 J Bacteriol. 193:2076-2077.
  • Barabote RD, J Thekkiniath, RE Strauss, G Vediyappan, JA Fralick, MJ San Francisco, 2011. Xenobiotic Efflux in Bacteria and Fungi: A Genomics Update in Advances in Enzymology and Related Areas of Molecular Biology: 237–306, 2011. Published Online : 23 FEB, DOI:10.1002/9780470920541.ch6.

Department of Biological Sciences

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    Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Box 43131 Lubbock, TX 79409
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