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John Helmann

John Helmann


372 Wing Hall
(607) 255-3086

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.

Research Focus

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.

Teaching Focus

graduate module in Bacterial Structure and Function (1 credit). Every Fall semester.

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow (2013) American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Outstanding Accomplishments in Basic Research (2012) Cornell Univ. CALS
  • Fellow (2010) American Academy of Microbiology (AAM)

Selected Publications

Journal Publications