Professor; and Chairman
John Helmann earned bachelor`s degrees in Chemistry and Biology (University of California, Santa Cruz) in 1982. He then joined the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California at Berkeley where he studied bacterial RNA polymerase with Dr. Michael Chamberlin and earned a Ph.D. in 1987. From 1987 to 1990, Dr. Helmann worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Christopher T. Walsh at the Harvard Medical School. His post-doctoral research, on the regulation of bacterial mercuric ion resistance determinants, was supported by the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Medical Research Foundation. Dr. Helmann joined the Section of Microbiology at Cornell as an Assistant Professor in 1990 and joined the graduate field of Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology in 1991. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1996 and Professor in 2002.
Our laboratory studies Bacillus subtilis, a Gram-positive soil bacterium and genetic model system. Major research efforts address the stress responses elicited by (i) antibiotics that affect the cell envelope, (ii) reactive oxygen species, or (iii) deficiency or excess of nutrient metal ions. For each stress response, we are interested in the global patterns of transcriptional control, the mechanisms of the corresponding regulatory proteins, and the roles of the induced pathways.
graduate module in Bacterial Structure and Function (1 credit). Every Fall semester.
Current teaching efforts include a graduate level module in Bacterial Genetics (BioMI6904).
Awards and Honors
- Fellow (2013) American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
- Outstanding Accomplishments in Basic Research (2012) Cornell Univ. CALS
- Lee, Y. H., Nam, K. H., & Helmann, J. D. (2013). A mutation of the RNA polymerase _' -subunit (rpoC) that confers cephalosporin resistance in Bacillus subtilis. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 57:56-65.
- Helmann, J. D. (2012). Changes to the editorial team at Molecular Microbiology. Molecular Microbiology. 86:1283-1284.
- Ma, Z., Faulkner, M. J., & Helmann, J. D. (2012). Origins of specificity and cross-talk in metal ion sensing by Bacillus subtilis Fur. Molecular Microbiology. 86:1144-1155.
- Joshi, C. P., Panda, D., Martell, D. J., Andoy, N. M., Chen, T. Y., Gaballa, A., Helmann, J. D., & Chen, P. (2012). Direct substitution and assisted dissociation pathways for turning off transcription by a MerR-family metalloregulator. PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109:15121-15126.
- Helmann, J. D., & Merchant, S. S. (2012). Elemental economy: microbial strategies for optimizing growth in the face of nutrient limitation. Advances in Microbial Physiology. 60:91-210.
- Luo, Y., & Helmann, J. D. (2012). A _D-dependent antisense transcript modulates expression of the cyclic-di-AMP hydrolase GdpP in Bacillus subtilis. Microbiology. 158:2732-2741.
- Faulkner, M., Ma, Z., Fuangthong, M., & Helmann, J. D. (2012). Derepression of the Bacillus subtilis PerR peroxide stress response leads to iron deficiency. Journal of Bacteriology. 194:1266-1235.
- Lee, Y. H., Kingston, A. W., & Helmann, J. D. (2012). Glutamate Dehydrogenase Affects Resistance to Cell Wall Antibiotics in Bacillus subtilis. Journal of Bacteriology. 194:993-1001.
- Luo, Y., & Helmann, J. D. (2012). Analysis of the role of Bacillus subtilis _(M) in _-lactam resistance reveals an essential role for c-di-AMP in peptidoglycan homeostasis. Molecular Microbiology. 83:623-639.
Presentations and Activities
- Regulation of Zinc Homeostasis in Bacillus subtilis. Annual Meeting. March 2016. American Chemical Society. San Diego, CA.