Marianne K. Poxleitner, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

My primary goal, as a professor, is to share my passion for science with our students. I help them understand what is known and encourage their curiosity of what is unknown. As a scientist, I use classic molecular and cellular biological techniques to...

Dr. Marianne Poxleitner

Contact Information

Education & Curriculum Vitae

Postdoctoral, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Ph.D., Molecular Plant Sciences, Washington State University

M.S., Horticulture, Colorado State University

B.S., Scientific Horticulture & Botany, magna cum laude, Colorado State University

Courses Taught

B105: Information Flow in Biological Systems

B015L: Phage Discovery Lab

B106: Energy Flow in Biological Systems

B207: Genetics

B351: Advanced Cell Biology

B360: Plant Biology


My primary goal, as a professor, is to share my passion for science with our students. I help them understand what is known and encourage their curiosity of what is unknown. As a scientist, I use classic molecular and cellular biological techniques to investigate various aspects of biology. I currently have two main areas of inquiry in my lab including the study of bacteriophage, viruses that kill bacteria, and genetic modifications of conifer trees to enhance their natural characteristics.

Rebekah Dedrick, Deborah Jacobs-Sera, Carlos Guerrero, Rebecca Garlena, Travis Mavrich, Welkin Pope, Juan Cervantes Reyes, Daniel Russell, Tammy Adair, Rick Alvey, J. Alfred Bonilla, Jerald Bricker, Bryony Brown, Deanna Byrnes, Steven Cresawn, William Davis, Leon Dickson, Nicholas Edgington, Ann Findley, Urszula Golebiewska, Julianne Grose, Cory Hayes, Lee Hughes, Keith Hutchison, Sharon Isern, Allison Johnson, Margaret Kenna, Karen Klyczek, Catherine Mageeney, Scott Michael, Sally Molloy, Matthew Montgomery, James Neitzel, Shallee Page, Marie Pizzorno, Marianne Poxleitner, Claire Rinehart, Courtney Robinson, Michael Rubin, Joseph Teyim, Edwin Vazquez, Vassie Ware, Jacqueline Washington, and Graham Hatfull. Prophage-mediated defense against viral attack and viral counter-defense. (2017). Nature Microbiology. 2, 16251. DOI:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.251

Marianne Poxleitner, Welkin Pope, Deborah Jacobs-Sera, Viknesh Sivinathan, Graham Hatfull. SEA-PHAGES Phage Discovery Guide. (2016). © HHMI 2016, Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Nancy L. Staub, Marianne Poxleitner, Amanda Braley, Helen Smith, Christine Pribbenow, Leslie Jaworski, David Lopatto and Kirk Anders. Scaling up: Adapting a Phage-Hunting Course to Increase Participation of First-Year Students in Research. (2016). CBE Life Sci Educ. Vol. 15(2).

Steven G. Cresawn, Welkin Pope, Deborah Jacobs-Sera, Charles Bowman, Daniel Russell, Rebekah M. Dedrick, Tamarah Adair, Kirk R. Anders, Sarah Ball, Dave Bollivar, Caroline Breitenberger, Sandra H. Burnett, Kristen Butela, Deanna Byrnes, Kathleen A. Cornely, Luke Daniels, David Dunbar, Ann M. Findley, Chris R. Gissendanner, Urszula P. Golebiewska, Grant A. Hartzog, J. J. Robert Hatherill, Lee E. Hughes, Chernoh S. Jalloh, Sphindile L Khambule, Rodney King, Christina King Smith, Karen Klyczek, Greg P. Krukonis, Christian Laing, Jonathan S Lapin, A. Javier Lopez, Sipho M. Mkhwanazi, Sally Molloy, Vanisha Munsamy, Eddie Pacey, Kimenthrie Pillay, Ruth Plymale, Marianne Poxleitner, Nathan Reyna, Joel Schildbach, Joseph Stukey, Sarah B. Taylor, Vassie C. Ware, Amanda L Wellmann, Daniel Westholm, Thabiso S. Zikalala, Roger W. Hendrix, Graham F. Hatfull. Comparative Genomics of Cluster O mycobacteriophages. (2015) PLoS ONE 10(3): e0118725. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118725

Welkin Pope, Charles Bowman, SEA-PHAGES1, PHIRE, K-RITH MGC, Deborah Jacobs-Sera, Daniel A. Russell, Steven Cresawn, William R. Jacobs Jr., Jeffrey G. Lawrence, Roger W. Hendrix, and Graham F. Hatfull. Dramatic variation in phage genome structures revealed by whole genome comparisons. (2015) eLIFE 4:e06416

(Gonzaga faculty and student authors in the SEA-PHAGES program include: Marianne Poxleitner, Kirk Anders, Ann-Scott Ettinger, Joseph Haydock, Shawna Pfeif*, Nicholas Contreras*, Riley Benoit*, Samantha Blake*, Cayla Boisseranc*, Erinleigh Caughron*, John, Culver*, Samuel Gordon*, Francis Green*, Alexis Holder*, Kevin Johnston*, Staci Koberstein*, Suzanne, Lacour*, Mary McAleer*, Taylor Oswald*, Joseph Ryan*, Monica Schroll*, Chelsea Stone*, Graciela Tobar*, Tara Togstad*, Mackenzie Bredereck*, Emily Carlson*, John Chase*, Ashley Connors*, Zachary Damby*, Marshall Davis*, Patrick Hashiguchi*, John Henderson*, Erin Lapsansky*, Dave Lee*, Alyssa Logan*, Mariah Minder*, Olivia, Schuele*, Elizabeth Toscan*, William Wilde*, Sarah Yeend*, Megan Batty*, Janella Bermudez*, Savannah Bukant*, Katherine Carr*, Ekaterina Dasiuk*, Kayci Fudge*, Jacob Gries*, Nathaniel Guilford*, Aspen Hirsch*, Chandler Jensen-Cody*, Jackson Jones*, Taylor Jordan*, Aleksey Kozlov*, Nina Montoya*, Alexandra Murphy*, Petros Raygoza*, Laura Shellooe*, Helen Xun*)

Hatfull, G.F., Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) program*, KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) Mycobacterial Genetics Course, University of California Los Angeles Research Immersion Laboratory in Virology, Phage Hunters Integrating Research and Education (PHIRE) program. (2013). The complete genome sequences of 63 mycobacteriophages. Genome Announc 1, 10.1128/genomeA.00847-13

(Gonzaga faculty and student authors in the SEA-PHAGES program include: Bredereck,M.L.*, Carlson,E.A.*, Chase,J.B.*, Connors,A.*, Damby,Z.S.*, Davis,M.J.*, Hashiguchi,P.K.*, Henderson,J.H.*, Lapsansky,E.R.*, Lee,D.K.*, Logan,A.M.*, Minder,M.A.*, Schuele,O.K.*, Toscan,E.D.*, Wilde,W.T.*, Yeend,S.E.*, Poxleitner,M.K., Anders,K. R.)

Hatfull, G. F., Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) program*, KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) Mycobacterial Genetics Course, Phage Hunters Integrating Research and Education (PHIRE) program. (2012). Complete genome sequences of 138 mycobacteriophages. J Virol 86:2382-2384.

(Gonzaga faculty and student authors in the SEA-PHAGES program include: Anders, K. R., Poxleitner, M.K., Benoit R.P.*, Blake S.A.*, Boisseranc C.J.*, Caughron E.K.*, Culver J.C.*, Gordon S.*, Green F.G.*, Holder A.J.*, Johnston K.R.*, Koberstein S.L.*, Lacour S.G.*, McAleer M.C.*, Oswald T.*, Ryan J.S.*, Schroll M.*, Stone C.A.*, Tobar G.*, Togstad T.L.*, Pfeif S.M.*, Contreras N.*)

Marianne K. Poxleitner, Meredith L. Carpenter, Joel J. Mancuso, Chung-Ju R. Wang, Scott Dawson, and W. Zacheus Cande (2008). Evidence for Karyogamy and Exchange of Genetic Material in the Binucleate Intestinal Parasite Giardia intestinalis. Science 319:1530-1533.

Marianne Poxleitner, Scott Dawson, and W. Zacheus Cande, (2008). Cell Cycle Synchrony in Giardia lamblia. Eukaryotic Cell 7(4):569-574.

Marianne Poxleitner, A. Lacey Samuels, John Browse, and John C. Rogers, (2006). A Role for Caleosin in Oil Body-Vacuole Interactions During Seed Germination, Plant Journal. 47: 917-933.

Mohammed Oufattole, Joon Ho Park, Marianne Poxleitner, Liwen Jiang, and John C. Rogers, (2005). Selective Membrane Protein Internalization Accompanies Movement from the Endoplasmic Reticulum to the Protein Storage Vacuole Pathway in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 17: 3066-3080.

Marianne Poxleitner. Effect of Irrigation Deficit and Ethephon Application on Color Enhancement of Vitis Vinifera. (1999). Booklet published for the Colorado Grape Growers Association

There are three projects underway in my lab.

The most established project investigates the use of bacteriophage as a biocontrol to fight Crown Gall disease. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect and kill bacteria. We are isolating phage specific for the bacteria Agrobacterium tumefaciens, which causes Crown Gall Disease in horticultural crops. Each isolated phage is purified and assessed for its ability to control Crown Gall Disease in Solanum lycropersicum (tomato) and Vitis vinifera (grapes). Effective phage will be used to create a biological control agent for crop plants to reduce economic losses due to the disease.

The second project is a new collaboration with the Hatfull lab at the University of Pittsburg investigating the host range of bacteriophage isolated on Mycobaterium smegmatis. A panel of phages isolated around the country, and at Gonzaga, will be tested on a new bacterial host. Phage that successfully infect the new host will be candidates for further study. Researchers will interact with the Hatfull lab and other scientists around the country involved in the collaboration.

The third lab project investigates new mechanisms of bacterial resistance to viral infection. Over the past several billion years the phage-bacteria relationship has been under constant selective pressure for bacteria to evolve ways to escape viral infection and death, and for phages to overcome these mechanisms. Bacteria already infected by a virus are often times resistant, or insensitive, to infection by other phages through a phenomenon known as superinfection immunity. We will look for additional mechanisms of bacterial insensitivity caused by previous phage infections. Researchers will screen the Gonzaga library of phages for interesting targets and investigate the mechanisms of insensitivity. This research project is administered through the B405 Advanced Phage Research Lab. The purpose of the lab course is to give students independent research experience in a class setting. If you are interested in pursuing this project, please contact Dr. Poxleitner for more information.