The Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics (MGGen) at NAU is a state-of-the-art research facility focused on understanding the evolution, ecology, and epidemiology of a number of disease-causing bacteria. The facility concentrates on Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) and Yersinia pestis (plague), other organisms that are important from a biodefense standpoint, and bacteria involved in hospital-acquired infections. The combination of cutting-edge instrumentation and expert personnel has enabled MGGen to develop powerful laboratory and data analysis techniques for detecting and characterizing these pathogens in environmental and clinical settings, as well as understanding their interaction with host organisms. This work is important for tracking and understanding the spread of pathogens in the environment in natural and human-caused disease outbreaks. The center is internationally known for its work.
- MGGen has ongoing collaborations with various government agencies and institutions. Funding for the Center is acquired from federal, state, and local funding agencies.
- The Center has very close ties with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Paul Keim, an NAU Regents Professor and Director of MGGen, is also the Director of Pathogen Genomics at TGen. In May, 2006, TGen launched the Center for Pathogen Diagnostics, or TGen North, located in Flagstaff and directed by Dr. Paul Keim.
- As an academic institution, the center is committed to undergraduate research training and further development of the workforce in these important areas of research. There are over 50 faculty, full-time staff, graduate and undergraduate students currently working in the center with additional researchers who are closely associated with the center on the NAU campus.