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Robert Glenn Quivey, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 275-0382

Fax: (585) 276-0190

Faculty Appointments



Our research work is focused on a bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, which colonizes the human mouth from the time of tooth eruption until death. The persistence of the organism is remarkable and our efforts are directed to learning the biological means by which it chronically infects virtually every person in the developed nations. The infection requires two relatively simple-minded objectives: bind to tooth surfaces and then survive in the mouth. However, the mouth is a fairly inhospitable environment, containing between 400 and 500 competing bacterial species, volumes of saliva that are swallowed, desquamating soft tissue surfaces, and the swallowing of food (and adsorbed bacteria) as a bolus. Irreversible binding of tooth surfaces occurs by the action of extracellular enzymes produced by S. mutans, the glucosyltransferases (GTFs). These enzymes catalyze the conversion of sucrose, supplied in our diets, to long-chain, insoluble glucans that serve as the molecular scaffold for the formation of dental plaque. If not removed, physically from teeth, the growing mesh of glucan, food particles, bacteria, and salivary constituents continues to accumulate and forms a biofilm referred to as dental plaque. As plaque builds up, S. mutans becomes protected from the flushing effects of saliva and swallowing. In its protected niche, S. mutans metabolism of sugar results in the formation of organic acids and the rapid acidification of the surrounding milieu. As pH values plummet, several orders of magnitude in just seconds, S. mutans begins its adaptation to life at low pH values, where surrounding bacteria can not compete. Our work is in understanding the mechanisms of low pH adaptation and how it relates to bacterial virulence in biofilms.

Results from our efforts have shown that S. mutans utilizes a number of discrete mechanisms to survive acidic environments. Interestingly, we've found that some of the mechanisms are shared with other streptococcal pathogens, and some are shared with streptococcal and staphylococcal pathogens. For example, we've shown that the central acid-protective enzyme, the F-ATPase, is transcriptionally up-regulated ("on") at low pH, which is characteristic shared with S. pneumoniae (Kuhnert et al., 2004). Our data has also shown that S. mutans must make major alterations to its membrane to survive low pH, requiring the action of an enzyme called FabM, a condition that is apparently shared in Staphylococcus aureus (Fozo and Quivey, 2004). Further evidence from our group has shown that resistance to acid-stress overlaps stress from oxidative agents, such as hydrogen peroxide, and that control of oxygen metabolism by an enzyme called NADH oxidase is mediated, in part, by novel mechanisms unique to S. mutans (Karrupaiah et al., 2005). In all of this work, we have focused on identifying those elements that might be useful targets for therapeutic intervention. Our results have shown that identification of unique regulatory schemes or novel enzyme mechanisms involved in stress responses in S. mutans also have a possible usefulness in other human pathogens. We are pursuing or basic science goals, with the inclusion of translational work. For example, we are exploring the use of metal ions, with knowledge gained from DNA repair studies, to develop new therapies for bacterial infection (Faustoferri et al., 2005). We have also begun the use of transgenic mice to study early infection processes (Culp et al., 2005). And, finally, we are developing new technology, in conjunction with the Optics Institute, to rapidly determine the bacterial composition of clinical biofilm samples (Zhu et al., 2004).



BS | Penn State University

BS | Penn State University

MS | Penn State University

PhD | Univ Texas-Austin

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

09/1985 - 09/1988
NIH/NIDR Postdoctoral Cariology Trainee, Department of Dental Research, University of Rochester

09/1984 - 09/1985
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Microbiology, University of Rochester


Member- Pathogen Functional Genomics Research Advisory Committee
Sponsor: J. Craig Venter Institute and NIH

2009 - Present
IADR Councilor for the Microbiology & Immunology Research Group
Sponsor: IADR

2004 - Present
President, Microbiology & Immunology Research Group
Sponsor: IADR

Graduate Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Education, University of Rochester Medical Center

2002 - 2004
President Elect, Microbiology and Immunology Research Group
Sponsor: IADR

1996 - 1999
Chairman, Fellowships Committee
Sponsor: IADR/ AADR

Phi Kappa Phi

Sigma Xi

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Journal Articles

Tinder EL, Faustoferri RC, Buckley AA, Quivey RG, Baker JL. "Analysis of the Streptococcus mutans Proteome during Acid and Oxidative Stress Reveals Modules of Protein Coexpression and an Expanded Role for the TreR Transcriptional Regulator." mSystems.. 2022 Apr 26; 7(2):e0127221. Epub 2022 Mar 15.

Quivey RG, O'Connor TG, Gill SR, Kopycka-Kedzierawski DT. "Prediction of early childhood caries onset and oral microbiota." Molecular oral microbiology.. 2021 Jul 27; Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Kopycka-Kedzierawski DT, Scott-Anne K, Ragusa PG, Cvetanovska M, Flint K, Feng C, Watson GE, Wong CL, Billings RJ, Quivey RJ, O'Connor TG. "Social, Psychological, and Behavioral Predictors of Salivary Bacteria, Yeast in Caries-Free Children." JDR clinical and translational research.. 2021 Mar 10; :2380084421999365. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Use of proteomics and degenerate PCR to elucidate virulence mechanisms in oral streptococci.
Book Title: Methods in Cell Science
Author List: Quivey, R. G. Jr.; Kuhnert, W.L. ; Faustoferri, R.C.
Published By: Invited for publication in a series of methods pertinent to streptococci. 1999

Chapter Title: Use of Transposons to Dissect Pathogenic Strategies of Gram-Positive Bacteria.
Book Title: Bacterial Pathogenesis (the Work)
Author List: Quivey, R.G.
Edited By: V.L. Clark and P.M. Bavoil
Published By: (Selected Methods in Enzymology Series.) 1997

Chapter Title: Genetic Manipulation of the Oral Streptococci
Book Title: Cariology for the Nineties
Author List: Quivey, R.G., Jr.; Faustoferri, R.C.; Kriger, P.S.
Edited By: W.H. Bowen and L.A. Tabak
Published By: University of Rochester Press 1993 in Rochester, NY.