Department of Biomedical Sciences

at the

University of South Alabama




Phone: 251-445-9274

Dept. phone: 251-445-9265


Fax: 251-445-9269



Ph.D. (Biomedical Sciences - Microbiology & Immunology), 1986

Marshall University / West Virginia University Schools of Medicine


Postdoctoral Studies:

-  Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Marshall University School of Medicine, 1985-1986

-  Department of Microbiology, University of Texas at Austin, 1986-1988



Research Interests

The Spector lab's research interests are in molecular genetics and physiology of bacteria. The lab is currently investigating how the enteric pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium senses, responds to and survives short and long-term exposures to stresses (e.g., nutrient starvation, extremes in temperature and pH, and exposures to hydrogen peroxide, redox cycling agents and antimicrobial peptides) that they can encounter in both host (e.g., birds, cattle, swine, humans) and non-host (e.g., soil, water systems, slaughterhouses, food processing / production plants) environments.  In particular, our lab is interested in identifying and characterizing genes that regulate and function in various aspects of the starvation-stress response (SSR) in this bacteria.  The SSR involves the up-regulation and down-regulation of sets of genes, which lead to dramatic morphologic and physiologic changes in the cell.  The function of the SSR is to generate an adaptive resistance to the long-term effects of carbon-energy source (C-) starvation and cross-resistances to other environmental stresses, e.g., extremes in pH or temperature and exposure to lethal levels of oxidizing agents (e.g., H2O2) and antimicrobial peptides (e.g., polymyxin B).  Our lab has identify several gene products (e.g., NarZYWV, PBP-7, DadA/B, FadF), sigma factors (e.g., sS, sE) and second messengers/signal nucleotides (e.g., cAMP, ppGpp, c-di-GMP)) that play key roles in the generation of a maximal SSR in S. Typhimurium.  Many of these functions are also expressed in vivo and are involved in S. Typhimurium's virulence in the mouse virulence model.



  • "Top Prof" honoree, Azalea Chapter of Mortar Board, University of South Alabama, 2011

  • "Top Prof" honoree, Azalea Chapter of Mortar Board, University of South Alabama, 2010

  • "Top Prof" honoree, Azalea Chapter of Mortar Board, University of South Alabama, 2009

  • Alpha Epsilon Delta, Health Preprofessional Honor Society, elected member (student nominated), 2009

  • "Top Prof" honoree, Azalea Chapter of Mortar Board, University of South Alabama, 2008

  • "Top Prof" honoree, Golden Key Chapter of Mortar Board, University of South Alabama, 2005

  • Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, College of Allied Health, University of South Alabama, 2003

  • Scholar of the Year, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, 2002.

  • Alpha Eta Society, elected member, 1999.

  • National Research Service Award - National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH, 1987-88

  • The Roche Laboratories Award (Clinical Sciences), National Student Research Forum, Univ. of Texas Medical Branch, 1985

  • Mildred A. Wasserman Award for Outstanding Performance in Microbiology, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now known as University of the Sciences),1981

  • Science Scholarship, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now known as University of the Sciences), 1977-81

Selected Publications

Books & Book Chapters:

  • William J. Kenyon & Michael P. Spector. 2011. Chapter 16: Response of Salmonella enterica serovars to environmental stresses. pp. 461-507, In Hin-chung Wong (ed.), Stress Response in Foodborne Microorganisms. Nova Science Publishing, Inc.: Hauppauge, NY, U.S.A.

  • Michael P. Spector. 2009.  Metabolism, Central (Intermediary). , pp. 728-750, In Moselio Schaechter (ed.), The Desk Encyclopedia of Microbiology. Academic Press: Oxford, U.K. [same article as below]

  • Michael P. Spector. 2009.  Metabolism, Central (Intermediary). , pp. 242-264, In Moselio Schaechter (ed.), Encyclopedia of Microbiology. Elsevier: Oxford, U.K.

  • Albert Moat, John W. Foster and Michael P. Spector. 2002. Microbial Physiology, 4th Edition. Wiley Publishing: New York, N.Y.

  • Michael P. Spector and John W. Foster. 1993. Starvation-stress response of Salmonella typhimurium: Gene expression and survival during nutrient starvation. , pp. 201-224, In Stephan Kjelleberg (ed.), Starvation in Bacteria. Plenum Publishing Corp.: New York, NY.

Peer-Reviewed Articles & Reviews: [# undergraduate students]

  • Michael P. Spector & William J. Kenyon. 2012. Resistance and survival strategies of Salmonella enterica to environmental stresses. Food Research International  45: 455-481.

  • William J. Kenyon, Sue Humphreys, Mark Roberts & Michael P. Spector. 2010. Periplasmic peptidyl-prolyl isomerases SurA and FkpA play an important role in the starvation-stress response (SSR) of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.  Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek  98: 51-63.

  • William J. Kenyon, Kristy L. Nicholson#, Bronislava Rezuchova, Dagmar Homerova, Francisco Garcia del-Portillo, B. Brett Finlay, Mark Pallen, Jan Kormanec and Michael P. Spector. 2007. sS-Dependent carbon-starvation-induction of pbpG (PBP 7) is required for the starvation-stress response in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.  Microbiology  153: 2148-2158.

  • Gary Rowley*, Michael P. Spector*, Jan Kormanec, and Mark Roberts. 2006. Pushing the envelope: Extracytoplasmic stress responses in bacterial pathogens. Nature Rev Microbiol, 4: 383-394   [*contributed equally to the manuscript]

  • William J. Kenyon, Sheena M. Thomas#, Erin Johnson# and Michael P. Spector. 2005. Shifts from glucose to certain secondary carbon-sources result in activation of the extracytoplasmic function sigma factor sE in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.  Microbiology  151: 2373-2383

  • Sue Humphreys, Gary Rowley, Andrew Stevenson, William J. Kenyon, Michael P. Spector and Mark Roberts. 2003.  The role of periplasmic peptidyl-prolyl-isomerases in Salmonella virulence.  Infection and Immunity  71: 5386-5388

  • William J. Kenyon, D.Geary Sayers#, Sue Humphreys, Mark Roberts, and Michael P. Spector. 2002. The starvation-stress response of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium requires sE, but not CpxR, regulated extracytoplasmic functions.  Microbiology  148: 113-122.

  • Robin L. Lucas, C. Phoebe Lostroh, Concetta C. DiRusso, Michael P. Spector, Barry L. Wanner, and Catherine A. Lee. 2000. Multiple factors independently regulate hilA and invasion gene expression in Salmonella typhimurium. Journal of Bacteriology  182: 1872-1882.

  • Michael P. Spector, Concetta C. DiRusso, Mark J. Pallen, Francisco Garcia-del Portillo, Gordon Dougan, and B.Brett Finlay. 1999.  The medium-/long-chain fatty acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (fadF) gene of Salmonella typhimurium is a phase 1 starvation-stress response (SSR) locus.  Microbiology 145: 15-31.

  • Michael P. Spector, Francisco Garcia-del Portillo, Shawn M. D. Bearson, Atif Mahmud#, Maureen Magut#, B. Brett Finlay, Gordon Dougan, John W. Foster and Mark J. Pallen.  1999.  The rpoS-dependent starvation-stress response locus stiA encodes a nitrate reductase (narZYWV) required for carbon-starvation-inducible thermotolerance and acid tolerance in Salmonella typhimurium. Microbiology  145: 3035-3045.

  • Michael P. Spector. 1998.  The starvation-stress response (SSR) of SalmonellaAdvances in Microbial Physiology  40: 233-279.

  • Genevieve I. McLeod# and Michael P. Spector. 1996. Starvation- and stationary-phase-induced resistance to the antimicrobial peptide polymyxin B in Salmonella typhimurium is RpoS (sS) independent and occurs through both phoP-dependent and -independent pathways. Journal of Bacteriology  178:3683-3688.

  • Robert L. Seymour#, Prashant V. Mishra#, M. Abdul Khan#, and Michael P. Spector. 1996. Essential roles of core starvation-stress response loci in carbon-starvation-inducible cross-resistance and hydrogen peroxide-inducible adaptive resistance to oxidative challenge in Salmonella typhimurium. Molecular Microbiology  20:497-505.

  • John W. Foster and Michael P. Spector. 1995. How Salmonella survive against the odds. Annual Review of Microbiology  49:145-174.

  • Carrie R. O'Neal#, William M. Gabriel#, Amy K. Turk#, Stephen J. Libby, Ferric C. Fang, and Michael P. Spector. 1994. RpoS is necessary for both the positive and negative regulation of starvation-survival genes during phosphate-, carbon-, and nitrogen-starvation in Salmonella typhimurium. Journal of Bacteriology  176:4610-4616.

  • Michael P. Spector and Christopher L. Cubitt#. 1992. Starvation-inducible loci of Salmonella typhimurium: Regulation and roles in starvation-survival. Molecular Microbiology  6:1467-1476.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences
HAHN 4027, Mobile, AL 36688
(251) 445-9265, fax: (251)
Last updated: July 25, 2011 4:30 PM (M.P.S.)