Dr. Robert Villafane

Dr. Robert Villafane
Professor of Microbiology
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Phone: 334-229-4678

Dr. Robert Villafane is a Professor of Microbiology at Alabama State University and the first recruit obtained for the new Graduate Program in Microbiology. He was educated at New York University (NYU) for his bachelor’s degree, at the University of California at Berkeley for his Master’s degree and at the Department of Microbiology, NYU School of Medicine for his doctorate. Finally, his postdoctoral studies were carried out in the Biology Department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under Professor Jonathan King. He has taught at the University of Tennessee (Microbiology) and the Ponce School of Medicine (Biochemistry). Dr Villafane is also the Program Director for the PhD Program in Microbiology.

Dr Villafane’s research interests fall in the area of structure and function of proteins. He uses the proteins of two bacterial viruses (phages) as model proteins, especially the tailspike proteins. These proteins serve as models for protein-protein interactions, protein-DNA interactions and protein-carbohydrate interactions. These studies make use of genetics, molecular biological and biophysical techniques. Dr Villafane is also a reviewer for manuscripts submitted to journals on protein-structure and function.

Selected recent publications:

  • Villafane, R., Costa, S., Ahmed, R., Salgado, C.  (2005) Arch. Virol. 150::2609-2621. The conservation of the N-terminus of some phage tails proteins.

  • Zayas, M., Villafane, R. (2007) Gene 386:211-217. Identification of the Salmonella phage 34 tailspike gene.
  • Almodóvar, S., Del C Colón, M., Maldonado, I.M., Villafane, R., Abreu, S., Meléndez, I., Domínguez, C., Cuevas, W., Collins, T.M., Lorenzo, E. (2007) Virology 369:35-46. HIV-1 infection of monocytes is directly related to the success of HAART.

  • Villafane, R., Zayas, M., Gilcrease, E. B., Kropinski, A. M., Casjens, S. R. (2008) BMC Microbiol. 8:227. Genomic analysis of bacteriophage epsilon34 of Salmonella enteric serovar Anatum (15+).

  • Villafane, R. (2009) Methods Mol. Biol. 501:223-237. Construction of phage mutants.