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Robert K. Ernst, Ph.D.

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Robert (Bob) K. Ernst, Ph.D., is an Associate Professsor in the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis in the school of dentistry and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the school of medicine. In the fall of 2008, I moved my laboratory from the University of Washington, Seattle, where I was a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a principal investigator with the Northwest Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (NWRCE) to the University of Maryland. I received my B.S. from the State University of New York at Oswego (biology and chemistry), an M.A. from SUNY Buffalo (Microbiology), and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia (Microbiology) studying retroviral RNA transport, where I was also a fellow in the Myles H. Thaler Center for Retrovirus Research. Subsequently, I was a senior fellow at University of Washington in the laboratory of Samuel I. Miller (Allergy and Infectious Diseases) from 1997 – 2002 before joining the faculty in 2002.

The current research goals of my laboratory are to understand the molecular basis and adaptive significance of modifications to the structure of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), the major surface molecule and pathogenic factor of Gram-negative bacteria and its interaction with the host innate immune system (see Ernst Lab Research Projects for ongoing projects).


     Dr. Bob Ernst, Ph.D.
     Associate Professor, Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Dental School,
     Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine,
     University of Maryland, The Founding Campus,
     8th Floor South, 650 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
     Office 9209; Laboratory 9414
     Telephone: 410.706.3622, Fax: 410.706.0193, Laboratory: 410.706.6112, Main Office: 410.706.7090

CV HIGHLIGHTS (Click link to see detailed information)

Peer reviewed publications 

Reviews and Book Chapters

Grant Support

CURRICULUM VITAE (Click to download PDF)




Instructor and Coordinator, MICP 521I – General & Orofacial Infectious Diseases, University of Maryland, Baltimore. Fall, 2009 – present.

Instructor, NSPR 518C – Clinical Research Conferences, University of Maryland, Baltimore. Fall, 2009 – present.

Instructor, MSPR 520 – Host Defenses and Infectious Diseases, University of Maryland, Baltimore. Fall, 2009 – present.

Instructor, DBMS 635 – Bacterial Genetics, University of Maryland, Baltimore. Fall 2009 - present.


Grant Support


Burkholderia pseudomallei and mallei lipid A structure” National Institutes of Health – Developmental Project, Northwest RCE, U54 AI057141. 12/1/09 – 11/30/10. Goals - To define and elucidate the mechanism of the synthesis of environmentally-regulated lipid A structures from B. pseudomallei and mallei, potential agents of bioterrorism.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa Lipid A” National Institutes of Health – R01- AI047938-06A1. 8/1/06 - 7/31/11. Goals - defining genes important for the synthesis of cystic fibrosis (CF)-specific lipid A in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Pending Grants

“Protein, Lipid, Chemical, and Structural Signatures of Differentially-Cultivated Francisella tularensis and Acinetobacter baumannii” Program Project. US Army Medical Research & Material Command. 5/1/10 – 4/30/15. Goals - Define the lipodomic and LPS profile for Francisella tularensis and Acinetobacter baumannii grown under different culture conditions to define specific chemical signatures.

Summary  |  Projects  |  Publications  |  Biography  |  Lab Personnel  |  Opportunities  |