Robert Glenn Quivey, Ph.D.

Robert Glenn Quivey, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 611
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-0382
Fax: (585) 276-0190
Lab: (585) 275-1435

Research Bio

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).

Awards & Honors (National)

IADR Councilor for the Microbiology & Immunology Research Group | IADR 2009 - Present
President, Microbiology & Immunology Research Group | IADR 2004 - Present
President Elect, Microbiology and Immunology Research Group | IADR 2002 - 2004
Chairman, Fellowships Committee | IADR/ AADR 1996 - 1999
Member- Pathogen Functional Genomics Research Advisory Committee | J. Craig Venter Institute and NIH Present

Awards & Honors (Local)

Graduate Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Education, University of Rochester Medical Center 2003
Phi Kappa Phi
Sigma Xi

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 50 available »

2015 Dec
Quivey RG, Grayhack EJ, Faustoferri RC, Hubbard CJ, Baldeck JD, Wolf AS, MacGilvray ME, Rosalen PL, Scott-Anne K, Santiago B, Gopal S, Payne J, Marquis RE. "Functional profiling in Streptococcus mutans: construction and examination of a genomic collection of gene deletion mutants." Molecular oral microbiology. 2015 Dec; 30(6):474-95. Epub 2015 Jun 19.
2015 Dec
Baker JL, Abranches J, Faustoferri RC, Hubbard CJ, Lemos JA, Courtney MA, Quivey R. "Transcriptional profile of glucose-shocked and acid-adapted strains of Streptococcus mutans." Molecular oral microbiology. 2015 Dec; 30(6):496-517. Epub 2015 Jul 02.
2015 Apr
Faustoferri RC, Hubbard CJ, Santiago B, Buckley AA, Seifert TB, Quivey RG. "Regulation of fatty acid biosynthesis by the global regulator CcpA and the local regulator FabT in Streptococcus mutans." Molecular oral microbiology. 2015 Apr; 30(2):128-46. Epub 2014 Oct 27.
2014 Jun
Baker JL, Derr AM, Karuppaiah K, MacGilvray ME, Kajfasz JK, Faustoferri RC, Rivera-Ramos I, Bitoun JP, Lemos JA, Wen ZT, Quivey RG. "Streptococcus mutans NADH oxidase lies at the intersection of overlapping regulons controlled by oxygen and NAD+ levels." Journal of bacteriology. 2014 Jun; 196(12):2166-77. Epub 2014 Mar 28.
2014 Apr
Buckley AA, Faustoferri RC, Quivey RG. "?-Phosphoglucomutase contributes to aciduricity in Streptococcus mutans." Microbiology. 2014 Apr; 160(Pt 4):818-27. Epub 2014 Feb 07.

Current Appointments

Director - Center for Oral Biology - Primary Administrative
Margaret and Cy Welcher Professorship in Dental Research - Center for Oral Biology
Professor - Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Center for Oral Biology (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Microbiology | Univ Texas-Austin1984
MS | Genetics | Penn State University1979
BS | Biology | Penn State University1977
BS | Biochemistry | Penn State University1977

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

NIH/NIDR Postdoctoral Cariology Trainee, Department of Dental Research, University of Rochester 1988
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Microbiology, University of Rochester 1985