In recent years, there has been an emergence of new strains of viruses, pathogenic bacteria and fungi, and protozoan parasites that threaten global health. Baylor College of Medicine has an exceptionally strong group of faculty who study medically important microbial pathogens. IM students have exciting opportunities to apply cutting-edge structural analysis techniques such as cryo-electron microscopy and tomography, X-ray crystallography, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy together with other biophysical techniques to define the 3D structures of macromolecules and how they interact with substrates and host proteins. Determining the structure-function relationship directs various aspects of microbial pathogenesis including how pathogens interact with the host cell, how they colonize, how they replicate and how they subvert the immune response. Furthermore, mechanistic understanding derived from structural work also forms a rational basis for developing new drugs and vaccines to prevent and treat diseases caused by microbial pathogens.

Baylor College of Medicine resources that support this research include the Protein Crystallography, cryo-EM and NMR & drug metabolism cores as well as resources available at the National School of Tropical Medicine and the Center for Drug Discovery.

Profiles of Faculty Working on Microbial Macromolecular Structure and Function

Maria Elena Bottazzi, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine


  • (832) 824-0510

Robert Allen Britton, Ph.D.


Therapeutic microbiology, probiotics, genomics and genetics of the human microbiota

Robert M Bryan Jr, Ph.D.



  • (713) 798-7720

Mary K. Estes, Ph.D.

Distinguished Service Professor


  • (713) 798-3585

Human mini-gut cultures to understand gastrointestinal virus-host interactions and mechanisms of pathogenesis and immunity

Peter Jay Hotez, M.D., Ph.D.

Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine


  • (713) 798-1199

Drug and Vaccine Delivery; Tropical Medicine

Joseph Michael Hyser, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


  • (713) 798-4514

Enteric Virus Calcium Channel Blockers; Exploitation of Host Calcium Signaling Pathways by Microbes…

Anthony Maresso, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


  • (713) 798-7369

Pathogenesis of bacterial infections

Timothy Gerald Palzkill, Ph.D.



  • (713) 798-5609

Protein structure/function and functional genomics; Enzymology; Structural Biology; Membrane Proteins; Drug Resistance Mechanisms…

B V Venkatar Prasad, Ph.D.



  • (713) 798-5686

Protein Structure-Function and Protein Folding; Virology, biochemistry, immunology and cell biology of viral and microbial pathogen…

Buck Samuel, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


  • (713) 798-9110

Microbiome programming of host physiology and development; Genetics and genomics of host-microbe interactions…

Francis T.F. Tsai, D.Phil.



  • (713) 798-8668

Protein Structure-Function and Protein Folding; Structural Biology and Macromolecular Assemblies; Cryo-electron Microscopy and Tomography…