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

Picture of Margaret McFall-Ngai

Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai is Professor and Director of the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.  She has instituted the C-MAIKI center for microbiome research at UH-M, and is PI of the WM Keck Foundation’s environmental microbiome observatory. Her research laboratory studies two areas: (i) the role of beneficial bacteria in health using the squid-vibrio model; and (ii) 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, and co-organizes and runs an advanced summer course on microbial symbioses as a visiting professor at the Gulbenkian Institute in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. McFall-Ngai was (2011-2013) a Moore Scholar at California Institute of Technology, and a Guggenheim fellow, and she currently 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).  She received a Doctor Honoris Causa, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland in 2015. This year she became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, and the ARCS Foundation Scientist of the Year.  She currently chairs the advisory committee for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR’s) program on Humans and the Microbiome.

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, and received the University of Hawaii’s Regents Medal for Excellence in Research. Recently, he was a Moore Scholar at the California Institute of Technology, and was Chair of the American Academy of Microbiology Awards Board. With Nicole Dubilier, he instituted and chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Animal-Microbe Symbioses, and is currently directing the annual West Coast Bacterial Physiologists Conference at Asilomar, CA. He currently co-directs the NIH-COBRE Integrative Center for Environmental Microbiomes and Human Health.

In 2015, Dr. Ruby moved his lab back to the University of Hawaii-Manoa. 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 and epigenetics 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

Sep 23, 2019 Podcast: Hawaiian Bobtail Squid: Using Light to Hide in the Dark—Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai—The Squid Vibrio Labs

Dr. McFall-Ngai dives into the details of the research she’s carrying out, offering a wealth of information which includes how and why the Hawaiian bobtail squid is an ideal model for her research, how the bacteria induce gene expression changes in the squid and the nature of how these gene expression changes manifest, how hosts identify symbiotic partners in general, findings of related research, and where her research is headed.

News Article

Mar 23, 2019 Margaret McFall-Ngai named ARCS Foundation Honolulu Chapter's 2019 Scientist of the Year

Based on her “outstanding record of original research and mentorship’.  Presentation at the 2019 ARCS Scholar Awards Banquet on Monday, May 6, beginning at 5:30 at the Outrigger Canoe Club. News Article

Jul 31, 2018 Prestigious $5M award for Margaret McFall-Ngai

Margaret McFall-Ngai, professor and director of the Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC) in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, has been selected to receive a MERIT award of more than $5 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 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