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. 36 available »

2016 May
Martinelli DJ, Pavelka MS. "The RipA and RipB Peptidoglycan Endopeptidases Are Individually Nonessential to Mycobacterium smegmatis." Journal of bacteriology. 2016 May; 198(9):1464-75. Epub 2016 Apr 14.
2015 Nov
Pavelka MS. "One of these is not like the others." Trends in microbiology. 2015 Nov; 23(11):668-70. Epub 2015 Oct 01.
2015 Aug 1
Boule LA, Winans B, Lambert K, Vorderstrasse BA, Topham DJ, Pavelka MS, Lawrence BP. "Activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor during development enhances the pulmonary CD4+ T-cell response to viral infection." American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology. 2015 Aug 1; 309(3):L305-13. Epub 2015 Jun 12.
2015 May
LoVullo ED, Wright LF, Isabella V, Huntley JF, Pavelka MS. "Revisiting the Gram-negative lipoprotein paradigm." Journal of bacteriology. 2015 May; 197(10):1705-15. Epub 2015 Mar 09.
2015 Apr
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 Apr; 197(7):1197-207. Epub 2015 Jan 26.

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