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Joel Griffitts

Joel Griffitts

Department Chair
Microbiology & Molecular Biology, Dean's Office

4007 LSB
Provo, UT 84602


I am a native of Lodi, CA, and was trained in the biological sciences at UC San Diego (Ph.D.) and Stanford (B.S. and later postdoctoral work), pursuing diverse topics including plant cell biology, animal-pathogen interactions, and the nitrogen fixing symbiosis between rhizobia and legumes. I enjoy teaching in a way that compels clear communication and that confronts students with the kinds of problems encountered in modern-day research settings. Outside of science, I enjoy distance running, baking, and spending time with family.

Research Interests

My research group seeks to understand mechanisms of biological versatility in bacteria, including the ability to cooperate with eukaryotic host organisms and to acquire tolerance to abiotic stressors such as heavy metals and antibiotics. With the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, our team is also learning to repurpose ancient enzymatic pathways to generate novel and diverse peptide-based antimicrobial compounds. Several smaller projects in the lab focus on engineering bacterial gene expression modules for better control of protein production in the biotech setting.

Teaching Interests

Molecular Biology, Bacterial Genetics, Scientific Writing


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, , Stanford University, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation (2006)
  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences , University of California, San Diego (2004)
  • B.S., Biological Sciences , Stanford University (1999)

Honors and Awards

  • College Outstanding Research Award, BYU College of Life Sciences (2016 - 2016)
  • NSF CAREER Award, National Science Foundation (2011 - 2016)
  • NSF Mid-Career Investigator Award, National Science Foundation (2015 - 2015)
  • BYU Young Scholar Award, Brigham Young University (2013 - 2013)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, The White House (2013 - 2013)
  • Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship, HHW Foundation (2005 - 2006)
  • Ruth L. Kirschtein Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined), NIH (2005 - 2005)

Administrative Assignments

  • Microbiology and Molecular Biology: Department Chair (2020 - Present)

Professional Citizenship

  • Committee/Council Member, National Science Foundation Grant Review (2021 - 2021)

Courses Taught


J Porter Hunt Emily Long Zhao Tyler J Free Mehran Soltani Chandler A Warr Alex B Benedict Melissa K Takahashi Joel S Griffitts William G Pitt Bradley C Bundy A B Benedict J D Chamberlain D G Calvopina Joel Shelby Griffitts A B Benedict P Ghosh S M Scott Joel Shelby Griffitts C Wendlandt E Helliwell M Roberts K Nguyen M L Friesen E von Wettberg P Price Joel Shelby Griffitts S S Porter F P do Amaral T R Tuleski VCS Pankievicz R A Melnyk A P Arkin Joel Shelby Griffitts M Z Tadra-Sfeir E de Maltempi Souza A Deutschbauer R A Monteiro G Stacey G. C. diCenzo M. Zamani A. Checcucci M. Fondi Joel Shelby Griffitts T. M. Finan A. Mengoni K. M. White M. K. Matthews R. C. Hughes A. J. Sommer Joel Shelby Griffitts P. D. Newell John M Chaston G. C. diCenzo A. B. Benedict M. Fondi G. C. Walker T. M. Finan A. B. Mengoni Joel Shelby Griffitts Tanner Jensen Kristi Bresciano Emma Dallon Stanley Fujimoto Cole Lyman Mark Clement Joel Griffitts Enoch Stewart M A Olson T W Siebach Joel Shelby Griffitts Eric Wilson David L Erickson P R Bennallack Joel Shelby Griffitts M F Arnold M Shabab J Penterman K L Boehme J S Griffitts G C Walker S Yang Q Wang E Federova J Liu Q Quin Q Zheng P A Price H Pan D Wang Joel Shelby Griffitts T Bissleing H Zhu K D Bewley P R Bennallack M A Burlingame Richard A Robison Joel Shelby Griffitts S M Miller M Shabab M F Arnold J Penterman A J Wommack H T Bocker P A Price Joel Shelby Griffitts E M Nolan G C Walker P R Bennallack K D Bewley M A Burlingame Richard A Robison S M Miller Joel Shelby Griffitts P A Price H R Tanner B A Dillon M Shabab G C Walker Joel Shelby Griffitts Philip R Bennallack Scott R Burt Michael J Heder Richard A Robison Joel Shelby Griffitts Ryan D VanYperen Taylor S Orton Joel Shelby Griffitts Matthew B. Crook Alicia L Draper Robert J Guillory Joel Shelby Griffitts Matthew B. Crook Daniel B. Linsay Matthew B. Biggs Joshua S. Bentley Jared C. Price Spencer C. Clement Mark Joel Clement Sharon R. Long Joel Shelby Griffitts Clarice L Harrison Matthew B Crook Gledi Peco Sharon R Long Joel Shelby Griffitts D. Wang Joel Shelby Griffitts C. Starker E. Federova E. Limpens S. Ivanov T. Bisseling S. R. Long R. E. Carlyon J. L. Ryther R. D. VanYperen Joel Shelby Griffitts T. T. Steele C. W. Fowler Joel Shelby Griffitts Joel Shelby Griffitts R E Carlyon J H Erickson J L Moulton M J Barnett C J Toman S R Long Joel Shelby Griffitts S R Long B D Barrows Joel Shelby Griffitts R V Aroian M. Capello R. D. Bungiro L. M. Harrison L. J. Bischof Joel Shelby Griffitts B. D. Barrows R. V. Aroian B. D. Barrows Joel Shelby Griffitts R. V. Aroian Joel Shelby Griffitts S. M. Haslam T. Yang S. Garczynski B. Mulloy P. S. Cremer A. Dell M. J. Adang R. V. Aroian Joel Shelby Griffitts R V Aroian Joel Shelby Griffitts D. L. Huffman J. L. Whitacre B. D. Barrows L. D. Marroquin R. Muller T. Hennet Brown J. D. Esko R. V. Aroian Joel Shelby Griffitts J. L. Whitacre D. E. Stevens R. V. Aroian L. D. Marroquin D. Elyassnia Joel Shelby Griffitts S. Feitelson R. V. Aroian S. R. Cutler D. W. Ehrhardt Joel Shelby Griffitts C. R. Somerville


C Fajardo S Meredith C Roll C Joel Shelby Griffitts Sandra Hope Julianne House Grose Donald Philip Breakwell
Paul Price Brett Dillon Joel Shelby Griffitts
Philip Bennallack Scott R Burt Richard A Robison Joel Shelby Griffitts
Joel Shelby Griffitts Paul Price
Joel Shelby Griffitts
Joel Shelby Griffitts
Ryan VanYperen Taylor Orton Joel Shelby Griffitts
Philip Bennallack Richard A Robison Joel Shelby Griffitts
Paul Price Brett Dillon Houston Tanner Matthew Crook Cortlandt Sellers Joel Shelby Griffitts
Matthew Bean Kevin Johnson Matthew Shirley Cortlandt Sellers Joel Shelby Griffitts
Dean Ritchie Katie Soh Clarice Harrison Joel Shelby Griffitts
Philip Bennallack Richard A Robison Joel Shelby Griffitts
Joel Shelby Griffitts