I was born in Virginia and grew up in East Peoria, Ill. I attended Carleton College in Minn and received a BA degree in Biology in 1960. I then went to graduate school at the University of Illinois in Urbana, receiving a MS degree in 1963 and a PhD degree in 1965 in Plant Pathology. I received a NSF fellowship to spend a year in the Dept. of Genetics at Pavia University in Italy. Prior to moving to Italy I had accepted an Asst Prof position in the Dept of Plant Pathology at the University of Nebraska. They agreed to hold the position while I spent a year in Italy. I joined the faculty at Nebraska in 1966 and I have spent my entire career at Nebraska.

Research Interests

My laboratory has worked on a range of topics associated with the molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, ecology and bioinformatics of viruses that infect certain unicellular, eukaryotic chlorella-like green algae for the last 40 years. Chloroviruses are found in freshwater all over the world and they have many interesting and unexpected properties. One property is that the Chloroviruses are among the largest viruses known, containing as many as 16 tRNA-encoding genes and 400 protein-encoding genes, including many not previously reported in viruses. These genes encode DNA restriction and modification enzymes, hyaluronan and chitin biosynthetic enzymes, polyamine biosynthetic enzymes, ion channels and transporters, and many glycosyltransferases. The proteins encoded by some of the chloroviruses are either the smallest or among the smallest proteins of their class. Consequently, some of the Chlorovirus-encoded proteins are the subject of intensive biochemical and structural investigation.

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Primary Section

Section 62: Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 44: Microbial Biology