Margaret McFall-Ngai

Director, Pacific Biosciences Research Center

Professor, Kewalo Marine Laboratory

Animal-Bacterial Symbioses; the molecular 'design' of tissues that interact with light, including eyes and photophores



PBRC 215, Kewalo Lab 218


(808) 956-8838


(808) 956-4768



Research Interests

Our research focuses on host responses to interactions with beneficial microbes. Within this context, the studies of my laboratory address five major questions:

1. How are environmentally rare bacteria harvested from the host's habitat during the onset of a horizontally transmitted symbiosis?
2. By what mechanisms does the host recognize its specific symbiotic partner(s)?
3. What are the influences of symbiotic bacteria on the developmental of the host tissues with which they associate?
4. How is the symbiont population maintained in balance over the host's lifetime, such that neither does the symbiont overgrow the host nor does the host eliminate the symbiont?
5. What are the similarities and differences between pathogenic and beneficial animal-bacterial interactions?