Alan D. Grossman

Alan D. Grossman

Praecis Professor of Biology

Alan Grossman studies mechanisms and regulation of DNA replication, gene expression, and horizontal gene transfer in bacteria.






Building 68 - Koch Biology Building


Jonathan Mercurio



Assistant Phone


  • PhD, 1984, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • BS, 1979, Biochemistry, Brown University

Research Summary

We use a variety of approaches to investigate several of the fundamental and conserved processes used by bacteria for propagation and growth, adaptation to stresses, and acquisition of new genes and traits via horizontal gene transfer. Our long term goals are to understand many of the molecular mechanisms and regulation underlying basic cellular processes in bacteria. Our organism of choice for these studies is usually the Gram positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis. Our current efforts are focused in two important areas of biology: 1) The control of horizontal gene transfer, specifically the lifecycle, function, and control of integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs). These elements are widespread in bacteria and contribute greatly to the spread of antibiotic resistances between organisms. 2) Regulation of the initiation of DNA replication and the connections between replication and gene expression, with particular focus on the conserved replication initiator and transcription factor DnaA. This work is directly related to mechanisms controlling bacterial growth, survival, and stress responses.


  • National Academy of Sciences, 2014
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2008
  • American Academy of Microbiology 1998
  • Eli Lilly Company Research Award, 1997

Recent Publications

  1. Timing of integration into the chromosome is critical for the fitness of an integrative and conjugative element and its bacterial host. McKeithen-Mead, SA, Grossman, AD. 2023. PLoS Genet 19, e1010524.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010524PMID:36780569
  2. Beneficial and detrimental genes in the cellular response to replication arrest. Schons-Fonseca, L, Lazova, MD, Smith, JL, Anderson, ME, Grossman, AD. 2022. PLoS Genet 18, e1010564.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010564PMID:36574412
  3. TnSmu1 is a functional integrative and conjugative element in Streptococcus mutans that when expressed causes growth arrest of host bacteria. McLellan, LK, Anderson, ME, Grossman, AD. 2022. Mol Microbiol 118, 652-669.
    doi: 10.1111/mmi.14992PMID:36268794
  4. Multiple mechanisms for overcoming lethal over-initiation of DNA replication. Anderson, ME, Smith, JL, Grossman, AD. 2022. Mol Microbiol 118, 426-442.
    doi: 10.1111/mmi.14976PMID:36053906
  5. Biology and engineering of integrative and conjugative elements: Construction and analyses of hybrid ICEs reveal element functions that affect species-specific efficiencies. Bean, EL, Herman, C, Anderson, ME, Grossman, AD. 2022. PLoS Genet 18, e1009998.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009998PMID:35584135
  6. A CRISPR interference screen reveals a role for cell wall teichoic acids in conjugation in Bacillus subtilis. Harden, MM, Anderson, ME, Grossman, AD. 2022. Mol Microbiol 117, 1366-1383.
    doi: 10.1111/mmi.14914PMID:35490406
  7. Interactions between mobile genetic elements: An anti-phage gene in an integrative and conjugative element protects host cells from predation by a temperate bacteriophage. Johnson, CM, Harden, MM, Grossman, AD. 2022. PLoS Genet 18, e1010065.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010065PMID:35157704
  8. A mobile genetic element increases bacterial host fitness by manipulating development. Jones, JM, Grinberg, I, Eldar, A, Grossman, AD. 2021. Elife 10, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.65924PMID:33655883
  9. Specificity and Selective Advantage of an Exclusion System in the Integrative and Conjugative Element ICEBs1 of Bacillus subtilis. Davis, KP, Grossman, AD. 2021. J Bacteriol 203, .
    doi: 10.1128/JB.00700-20PMID:33649151
  10. Identification, characterization and benefits of an exclusion system in an integrative and conjugative element of Bacillus subtilis. Avello, M, Davis, KP, Grossman, AD. 2019. Mol Microbiol 112, 1066-1082.
    doi: 10.1111/mmi.14359PMID:31361051
More Publications


Photo credit: Kelly Lorenz