Michael Carruthers, Ph.D.

Assistant ProfessorMicrobiology and Immunology
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Program
Office Phone 515-271-1647
Fax 515-271-1543
Email michael.carruthers@dmu.edu
  • Postdoctoral Scientist, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University, 2009 - 2013
  • Ph.D., Microbiology, Iowa State University, 2009
  • B.S., Microbiology, Iowa State University, 2004

My laboratory studies bacterial opportunistic pathogens in the genus Acinetobacter. Pathogenic Acinetobacter cause a variety of diseases in humans including ventilator-associated pneumonia, community acquired pneumonia and wound/surgical site infections. Alarmingly, these infections are becoming increasing non-responsive to antibiotic therapies due to the ability  of Acinetobacter spp. to acquire and exhibit antibiotic resistance. We have recently shown that Acinetobacterspp. utilize a secretion system, the type VI secretion system (T6SS), to compete with other bacteria.  The T6SS is a poison tipped, spring-loaded dagger that certain bacteria can produce and use to intoxicate and potentially kill neighboring bacteria or host cells. My research focuses how Acinetobacter produces its T6SS, what specific proteins mediate the T6SS-associated anti-bacterial effects and determining what role the T6SS has in the diseases caused by Acinetobacter spp.


Carruthers, M.D., Harding, C.M., Rather, P.N., Bonomo, R.A. and R.S. Munson, Jr. 2013. The Draft Genome of the clinical isolate Acinetobacter nosocomialis strain M2. Genome Announc. 1(6):e00906-13

Yu, J., Madsen, M.L., Carruthers, M.D., Phillips, G.J., Kavanaugh, J.S., Boyd, J.M., Horswill, A.R. and F.C. Minion. 2013. Analysis of autoinducer-2 quorum sensing in Yersinia pestis. Infect Immun. 81(11):4053-62

Harding, C.M., Tracy, E.N., Carruthers, M.D., Rather, P.N., Actis, L.A. and R.S. Munson, Jr. 2013. Acinetobacter baumannii strain M2 produces type IV pili, which play a role in natural transformation and twitching motility but not surface-associated motility. mBio. 4(4):e00360-13

Carruthers, M.D., Nicholson, P.A., Tracy, E.N. and R.S. Munson, Jr. 2013. Acinetobacter baumannii utilizes a type VI secretion system for bacterial competition. PLoS One. 8(3):0059388

Carruthers, M.D., Tracy, E.N., Dickson, A.C., Ganser, K.B., Munson Jr., R.S. and L.O. Bakaletz. 2012. Biological roles of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae type IV pilus proteins encoded by the pil and com operons. 194(8):1927-1933

Carruthers, M.D., Bellaire, B.H. and F.C. Minion. 2010. Exploring the response of Escherichia coli O157:H7 within Acanthamoeba castellanii by genome-wide transcriptional profiling. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 312(1): 15-23

Carruthers, M.D. and F.C. Minion. 2009. Transcriptome analysis of Escherichia coli O157:H7 EDL933 during heat shock. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 295(1): 96-102.

Madsen, M.L., Puttamreddy, S., Carruthers, M.D., and F.C. Minion. 2008. Transcriptome changes in Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae during infection. Infect Immun. 76(2): 658-663.

Puttamreddy, S.*, Carruthers*, M.D., Madsen, M.L., and F.C. Minion. 2008. Transcriptome analysis of organisms with food safety relevance. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 5(4): 517-529.