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Florida Gulf Coast University

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Biology (B.A.)

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Michael LaGier

Assistant Professor
Phone: (239) 590-1256
Office: WH 216

Ph.D. Molecular Microbiology, State University of New York, 2002.
B.S. Biology (Salutatorian), State University of New York, 1997.

In addition to my formal education, I have conducted basic and applied microbiological research as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). As a NIH-funded Postdoctoral Fellow at UNC, I also received formal training in undergraduate science education.

Research Interests

I am a molecular microbiologist that conducts basic and applied research aimed towards improving diagnostics and therapeutics. My current research focuses on comparative bacterial genomics. Specifically, I am using a combination of bioinformatics and molecular biology to identify and characterize genes and gene pathways that have allowed select oral pathogens, including members of the Campylobacter genus, to adapt to, and cause infectious diseases in the oral cavity of humans.

Teaching Interests

My desire to teach biology as a career is best reflected by the training choices I have made and my experiences. In addition to teaching “Introductory Microbiology” as an undergraduate teaching assistant, I’ve also had opportunities to teach “Introduction to Biomedical Sciences” as a graduate teaching assistant and “Special Topics in Infectious Diseases” as a course director. As a fellow in the UNC-SPIRE Postdoctoral Teaching and Research program, I taught “Introductory Biology” and “Microbiology” at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Currently, I teach “Microbiology with Lab” and “General Biology I”. Through my teaching experiences, I have identified two significant challenges faced by biology educators: 1) creating an environment that promotes active learning, and 2) keeping students interested by highlighting the connections of biology to everyday life, without diluting the technical knowledge required to succeed in the science itself. As an Assistant Professor, I tackle these challenges by encouraging inquiry-based learning, creating collaborative learning environments, assessing learning frequently, including undergraduates in research, and using technology in the classroom.

Select Research Publications

  • K.D. Goodwin, L. Matragrano*, and M.J. LaGier. 2009. A preliminary investigation of fecal indicator bacteria, human pathogens, and source tracking markers in beach water and sand. Environmental Research Journal 2:395-417.
  • M.J. LaGier and D.S. Threadgill. 2008. Identification of novel genes in the oral pathogen Campylobacter rectus. Oral Microbiology and Immunology 5:406-412.
  • M.J. LaGier, J.W. Fell and K.D. Goodwin. 2007. Electrochemical biosensors for environmental monitoring: two assays for hand-held detection of the toxic dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis. Marine Pollution Bulletin 54:757-770.
  • M.J. LaGier, L. Joseph*, K.A. Musser and N.M Cirino. 2004. A real-time multiplexed PCR assay for rapid detection and differentiation of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli. Molecular and Cellular Probes; 18:275-82.
  • M. J. LaGier, F. Stejskal, J, Tachezy, K. Kutisova and J.S. Keithly. 2003. Identification and characterization of mitochondrial-type iron-sulfur cluster biosynthesis genes in the apicomplexan Cryptosporidium parvum. Microbiology; 149: 3519-30.

*Undergraduate researcher

Select Education Publications

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