Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Penn State Science
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Michael Mwangi

Michael Mwangi

Main Content

  • Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
W206 Millennium Science Complex
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-8806

Research Interests

Antibiotic resistance, Metagenomics, Development of Bioinformatic Tools

Graduate Programs


Research Summary

Dr. Mwangi’s laboratory tries to solve difficult problems in biomedicine using a combination of dry-work, involving computer science and mathematics and more traditional wet-work carried out at the bench. One tool that figures prominently in his work is next generation sequencing – an advancement that has revolutionized biology by allowing for the rapid determination of an organism’s entire DNA sequence or blueprint.

Currently, Dr. Mwangi is trying to unravel the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in MRSA and several other important bacterial pathogens. Some strains of these bacteria have evolved resistance to many drugs, raising the specter of untreatable disease. He also has a growing interest in the field of metagenomics, which involves analyzing the complex and diverse bacterial populations, or microflora, that inhabit humans and other animals. Such microflora may play a profound role in many diseases ranging from Crohn’s to autism.

Selected Publications

  • Gardete S., Kim C., Hartmann BM, Mwangi M.M., et al., “Genetic pathway in the acquisition and loss of vancomycin resistance in a methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strain of clonal type USA300.” PLoS Pathog. 2012, 8(2).
  • Rosenberg B.R., Hamilton C.E., Mwangi M.M., et al., “Transcriptome-wide sequencing reveals numerous APOBEC1 mRNA-editing targets in transcript 3' UTRs.” Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2011, 18(2): 230-6.
  • Mwangi M.M., Wu S., Zhou Y., et al. “Tracking the in vivo evolution of multidrug resistance in Staphylococcus aureus by whole-genome sequencing.” PNAS. 2007, 104: 9451-9456. (Track II, direct submission)
  • Mwangi M.M. and Siggia E.D. “Genome wide identification of regulatory motifs in Bacillus subtilis.” BMC Bioinformatics. 2003, 4: 18-37. (Highly accessed)
  • Mwangi M.M., Sica R.J., and Argall P.S. “Retrieval of Molecular Nitrogen and Molecular Oxygen Densities in the Upper Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere Using Ground-Based Lidar Measurements.” Journal of Geophysical Research. 2001, 106, D10: 10313-10323.
  • Argall P.S., Sica R.J., Vassiliev O., and Mwangi M.M. “Lidar measurements taken with a large-aperture liquid mirror. 2. Sodium-resonance-fluorescence system.” Applied Optics. 2000, 39: 2393-2400.
  • Sica R.J., Argall P.S., Russell A.T., Bryant C.R., and Mwangi M.M.  “Dynamics and composition measurements in the lower and middle atmosphere with the Purple Crow Lidar.” Recent Research Developments in Geophysical Research. 2000, 1-16.