Alan D. Grossman

Alan D. Grossman

Praecis Professor of Biology; Department Head

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






Gina Lee



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. 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
  2. Genetic networks controlled by the bacterial replication initiator and transcription factor DnaA in Bacillus subtilis. Washington, TA, Smith, JL, Grossman, AD. 2017. Mol. Microbiol. 106, 109-128.
    doi: 10.1111/mmi.13755PMID:28752667
  3. Genetic and biochemical interactions between the bacterial replication initiator DnaA and the nucleoid-associated protein Rok in Bacillus subtilis. Seid, CA, Smith, JL, Grossman, AD. 2017. Mol. Microbiol. 103, 798-817.
    doi: 10.1111/mmi.13590PMID:27902860
  4. Autonomous Replication of the Conjugative Transposon Tn916. Wright, LD, Grossman, AD. 2016. J. Bacteriol. 198, 3355-3366.
    doi: 10.1128/JB.00639-16PMID:27698087
  5. Complete Genome Sequence of Bacillus subtilis Strain CU1050, Which Is Sensitive to Phage SPβ. Johnson, CM, Grossman, AD. 2016. Genome Announc 4, .
    doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00262-16PMID:27056236
  6. The Composition of the Cell Envelope Affects Conjugation in Bacillus subtilis. Johnson, CM, Grossman, AD. 2016. J. Bacteriol. 198, 1241-9.
    doi: 10.1128/JB.01044-15PMID:26833415
  7. Identification of host genes that affect acquisition of an integrative and conjugative element in Bacillus subtilis. Johnson, CM, Grossman, AD. 2015. Mol. Microbiol. 98, 1222.
    doi: 10.1111/mmi.13282PMID:26767850
  8. Integrative and Conjugative Elements (ICEs): What They Do and How They Work. Johnson, CM, Grossman, AD. 2015. Annu. Rev. Genet. 49, 577-601.
    doi: 10.1146/annurev-genet-112414-055018PMID:26473380
  9. Identification of a Single Strand Origin of Replication in the Integrative and Conjugative Element ICEBs1 of Bacillus subtilis. Wright, LD, Johnson, CM, Grossman, AD. 2015. PLoS Genet. 11, e1005556.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005556PMID:26440206
  10. In Vitro Whole Genome DNA Binding Analysis of the Bacterial Replication Initiator and Transcription Factor DnaA. Smith, JL, Grossman, AD. 2015. PLoS Genet. 11, e1005258.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005258PMID:26020636
More Publications


Photo credit: Kelly Lorenz