Margaret McFall-Ngai & Edward (Ned) Ruby
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Margaret McFall-Ngai

Picture of Margaret McFall-Ngai

Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai is a professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine and Public Health, and member of the Symbiosis Cluster group, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Eye Research Institute.  Her laboratory studies two areas: 1) the role of beneficial bacteria in health using the squid-vibrio model; 2) the biochemical and molecular ‘design’ of tissues that interact with light.  In addition, she has been heavily involved in promoting microbiology as the cornerstone of the field of biology.

Dr. McFall-Ngai also currently holds the positions of AD White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University and EU Marie Curie ITN Professor. She was recently (2011-2013) a Moore Scholar at California Institute of Technology. Dr. McFall-Ngai has been a Guggenheim fellow, and is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology (2002), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011), and the National Academy of Sciences (2014).

Edward (Ned) Ruby

Picture of Edward (Ned) Ruby

Dr. Ruby has worked for 30 years on beneficial bacterial-host interactions. He was hired into the Symbiosis Cluster at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004, where he held the Steenbock Chair of Microbiological Sciences, and was Vice-Chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology. He has served on the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology, and been a visiting professor at HuaZhong U, China, and a EU/Marie Curie ITN Researcher at the Max-Planck Institute, Bremen, Germany. Recently, he was a Moore Scholar at the California Institute of Technology, and is currently Chair of the American Academy of Microbiology Awards Board.

In 2015, Dr. Ruby moved his lab back to the University of Hawaii. His current research uses (i) a broad-based approach to analyze how sequential signaling cascades and nutrient manipulation produce rhythmic patterns of bacterial metabolism that underlie the association’s persistence, (ii) new analytical and imaging approaches to discover novel pathways of signaling between the symbiont and its host, and (iii) comparative and functional genomics to discover principles controlling population-level interactions among symbionts.  

Research Philosophy

Divining the Essence of Symbiosis: Insights from the Squid-Vibrio Model

Development of experimental model systems reveals basic principles that underpin the essence of symbiosis and, more specifically, how one symbiosis, the squid-vibrio association, provides insight into the persistent microbial colonization of animal epithelial surfaces. 

Symbiotic Conversations Are Revealed Under Genetic Interrogation

This is an exciting time for biologists, and for microbiologists in particular, to begin to understand how animals and plants communicate with the many bacterial species that live in and on their tissues. Describing the genetic basis of this symbiotic conversation has become a new frontier of biology. 

Lab News

Feb 05, 2017 Native Squid and Its Bacterium May Help Human and Environmental Health

Margaret and Ned are featured on Univerity of Hawaii News with an overview of the ongoing research at Kewalo Marine Lab.  News Article

Oct 27, 2016 Documentary - The Microbes That Rule Our World

Margaret and Ned are featured in a National Geographic styled French documentary, The Microbes That Rule Our World, directed by Stéphane Bégoin, which will broadcast on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2016, on the internationally regarded French-German channel ARTE.  News Article

Oct 11, 2016 Post-Doc Position Available

Postdoctoral Position in McFall-Ngai and Ruby Laboratories, Kewalo Marine Laboratory & Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Mentors: Margaret McFall-Ngai, Edward Ruby, Janna Nawroth

Collaborators: Eva Kanso, Scott Fraser - University of Southern California

A postdoctoral position is available at the Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC) working at the interface of microbiome, biophysics, and molecular biology studies. Specifically, the project will investigate the role of ciliary actuation, sensing and signaling in the squid-vibrio symbiosis. the candidate will employ and develop a variety of biological imaging techniques and analysis tools and, in collaboration with the Kanso group at USC, perform computational modeling studies to unravel the biology and biophysics of bacteria-cilia interaction. The project will be conducted at PBRC's Kewalo Marine Laboratory in Honolulu. Ph.D. degree required. Expertise in microbiology, molecular biology, biological imaging, signal processing, and/or biophysics desired. The candidate will work with biologists, physicists, and methematicians as part of a grant from the NSF INSPIRE Program, which seeks to promote interdisciplinary research. The candidate will be expected to work both independently and in a team, and to acquire new skills and knowledge outside his or her area of expertise.

Position available immediately. Applications should include a CV and statement of research and career interests. The materials can be sent to mentors, McFall-Ngai (, Ruby ( and Nawroth ( News Article

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Margaret McFall-Ngai & Edward Ruby

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McFall-Ngai Lab
Margaret McFall-Ngai
Phone: (808) 539-7331

Ruby Lab
Edward (Ned) Ruby
Phone: 808-539-7300