Martin Pavelka, Ph.D.

Martin Pavelka, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 672
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-4670
Lab: (585) 275-4685
Fax: (585) 473-9573

Research Bio

1. Research Projects in Progress

My research expertise is in the genetics, physiology, and biochemistry of the cell envelopes of bacterial respiratory pathogens, with a special focus on the cell wall peptidoglycan.

Tuberculosis Research
1. Biosynthesis of the mycobacterial cell wall. Our current research activities focus on understanding the genetics and biochemistry of cell envelope biosynthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and related mycobacteria with the goal of identifying new targets that can be translated into the development of novel anti-tuberculosis drugs. Our studies focus on four aspects of the peptidoglycan of mycobacteria: 1) identifying the enzymes responsible for DAP-DAP cross links in the cell wall and their importance for cell survival under non-replicating conditions, 2) understanding the role of carbohydrate hydroxylation and amino acid amidation on peptidoglycan physiology, 3) understanding the function of unusual L,D-transpeptidase enzymes that may modify the cell wall, and 4) understanding the factors that contribute to antibiotic resistance in M. tuberculosis. These research activities include collaborations with Dr. Dean Crick and Dr. Sebabrata Mahapatra (Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO).

2. We are also collaborating with Dr. Scott Butler in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology here at the UR to investigate the function of toxin-antitoxin genes in M. tuberculosis and their potential role in latency in tuberculosis.

Tularemia and Biodefense Research
1. Development of genetic tools for Francisella tularensis and investigations into tularemia pathogenesis. Our early work on Francisella was to develop genetic methods to manipulate Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia and a Category A Select Agent. This work focused on developing new plasmid vectors, selectable markers, a method of allelic exchange and transposon mutagenesis, single-copy chromosomal integration systems, and protein secretion reporter systems. Future plans include the development of projects to investigate Francisella cell wall physiology and the roles that cell envelope components have in the innate immune response and tularemia pathogenesis.

Awards & Honors (Local)

Awardee, URMC Excellence in Research 2006 - 2006
Recipient of a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences 1997
Public Heath Service NIH Predoctoral Trainee 1990 - 1993
Graduated magna cum laude - Cleveland State University 1988
Doretta C. Thelker Award, Cleveland State University 1988

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 32 available »

2015 Jan 26
Jin G, Pavelka MS, Butler JS. "Structure-Function Analysis of VapB4 Antitoxin Identifies Critical Features of a Minimal VapC4 Toxin-binding Module." Journal of bacteriology. 2015 Jan 26; Epub 2015 Jan 26.
2014 Aug
Sanders AN, Wright LF, Pavelka MS. "Genetic characterization of mycobacterial L,D-transpeptidases." Microbiology. 2014 Aug; 160(Pt 8):1795-806. Epub 2014 May 21.
2013 Sep
Sanders AN, Pavelka MS. "Phenotypic analysis of Eschericia coli mutants lacking L,D-transpeptidases." Microbiology. 2013 Sep; 159(Pt 9):1842-52. Epub 2013 Jul 07.
2013 Feb
Mahapatra S, Piechota C, Gil F, Ma Y, Huang H, Scherman MS, Jones V, Pavelka MS, Moniz-Pereira J, Pimentel M, McNeil MR, Crick DC. "Mycobacteriophage Ms6 LysA: a peptidoglycan amidase and a useful analytical tool." Applied and environmental microbiology. 2013 Feb; 79(3):768-73. Epub 2012 Nov 16.
2013 Jan
Slayden RA, Jackson M, Zucker J, Ramirez MV, Dawson CC, Crew R, Sampson NS, Thomas ST, Jamshidi N, Sisk P, Caspi R, Crick DC, McNeil MR, Pavelka MS, Niederweis M, Siroy A, Dona V, McFadden J, Boshoff H, Lew JM. "Updating and curating metabolic pathways of TB." Tuberculosis. 2013 Jan; 93(1):47-59. Epub 2013 Feb 01.

Current Appointments

Associate Professor - Department of Microbiology and Immunology (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Microbiology | Univ Rochester Sch Med/Dent1994
MS | Microbiology | Univ Rochester Sch Med/Dent1991
BS | Biology | Cleveland St University1988

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY). 1999