Mark Mandel

Mark Mandel

University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI

Candidate for Board of Directors
Associate Professor, Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

  • Cornell University, B.S. 1999
  • Princeton University, Ph.D. 2005
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Postdoc 2009
Professional Experience:
  • Northwestern University, Assistant Professor, 2010-2016
  • Northwestern University, Associate Professor, 2016-2017
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Associate Professor, 2017-
ASM Activities:
  • Program Advisory Committee, 5th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes, 2012-2014
  • Program Advisory Committee, 6th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes, 2014-2016
  • Convener (with Matt Mulvey), “Small Genetic Change: Large Impact” Session at ASM General Meeting, 2015
  • Co-Chair (with Karen Guillemin), 7th Conference on Beneficial Microbes (formerly an ASM Conference), 2016-2018
  • Panelist, ASM Journals Editors-in-Chief Workshop, 2017
  • Convener, “Symbiosis and pathogenesis” Session at ASM Microbe Meeting, 2018
  • Editor, mSystems, 2015-
  • Editorial Board, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2015-
  • ASM Conference Grants Selection Committee, 2017-

            Selected Publications:
  1. Mandel MJ, Wollenberg MS, Stabb EV, Visick KL, Ruby EG. 2009. A single regulatory gene is sufficient to alter bacterial host range. Nature 458:215-218.
  2. Brooks JF II, Gyllborg MC, Cronin DC, Quillin SJ, Mallama CA, Foxall R, Whistler CA, Goodman AL, Mandel MJ. 2014. Global discovery of colonization determinants in the squid symbiont Vibrio fischeri. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111:17284-17289.
  3. Brooks JF II, Mandel MJ. 2016. The histidine kinase BinK is a negative regulator of biofilm formation and squid colonization. J Bacteriol 198:2596-2607.
  4. Rotman ER, Bultman KM, Brooks JF II, Gyllborg MC, Burgos HL, Wollenberg MS, Mandel MJ. 2019. Natural strain variation reveals diverse biofilm regulation in squid-colonizing Vibrio fischeri. J Bacteriol 201:e00033-19.
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Research Interests:
The overall goal of research in my group is to characterize colonization of animals by their specific microbiota. Hawaiian bobtail squid hatch into seawater that contains one million bacteria in every milliliter, yet less than 0.1% of those bacteria are the specific luminous symbiont, Vibrio fischeri. Nonetheless, communication between host and microbe lead to colonization exclusively by V. fischeri. We are interested in the signal transduction pathways that underlie the specificity. Our forward genetic and comparative genomic approaches have led us to examine the regulation and evolution of the symbiotic biofilm that V. fischeri produces and is required for host colonization. We have identified and characterized novel colonization factors and examined other symbiotic behaviors (e.g. chemotaxis) that contribute to host colonization specificity. Our ongoing studies are examining how regulatory pathways evolve to facilitate microbe-host relationships.

ASM is the organization at the foundation of our microbiology community, and I would embrace the opportunity to help it grow and better serve all of us as members.
ASM Conferences have had a significant impact on my career. The ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes was the first conference I attended that merged microbiome studies from model systems through to humans. I took a leadership role in the conference organization, and I was in that position when ASM made the decision to discontinue the conference program in 2017. While I worked to set up an alternate path for my conference’s success, I also helped to facilitate ASM’s new conference grants program to help other organizers who were in a similar situation. As a member of the board, I would ensure that members’ priorities are reflected in the decisions of the organization.
ASM has shown substantial leadership in promoting diversity through its training and conference programs. These efforts are critical to provide a fair playing field, to train the best scientists, and to make critical discoveries for society. I am strongly supportive of these efforts and will work to identify additional constituencies that need to be represented in the society’s priorities.
Additionally, ASM Journals have been important to me since I joined a bacterial genetics laboratory in graduate school. In my own lab, I support the society through publication in its journals and through serving on journal editorial boards. It is crucial that the journals continue to evolve to meet the needs of the membership in the face of dramatic changes in the publishing landscape.
ASM has a broad mission and diverse constituencies, demanding that difficult choices be undertaken to balance immediate needs and future planning. I hope that as a member of the ASM Board of Directors, I will be in a position to advocate for changes that will strengthen the society. We are a big organization, and our more progressive ideas come from the grassroots. I am excited to help develop a healthy process for soliciting input and bringing our community’s best ideas to bear on the future of the society.

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