Francis L. Macrina, Ph.D.

Francis L. Macrina, Ph.D.

Vice president for research
Edward Myers Professor of oral and craniofacial molecular biology and microbiology and immunology

Virginia BioTechnology Research Park - BioTech One Link opens in new window
800 E. Leigh Street
Box 980568
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 827-2262
Fax: (804) 828-2051


  • Ph.D. in Microbiology, Syracuse University, 1972
  • B.S., Cornell University, 1968


Our laboratory research interests center on the molecular pathogenesis of infectious diseases. We have studied bacteria that are indigenous to man, in particular those whose natural habitat is either the human oral cavity or the intestinal tract. Organisms include oral streptococci involved in the causation of dental caries or endocarditis, as well as anaerobes such as Porphyromonas sp. and Bacteroides sp. able to cause a variety of soft tissue infections. We use molecular genetic approaches to study the contributions of genes to colonization and virulence, and to the origins and transfer of antibiotic resistance determinants. Rodent animal models are used to allow us to evaluate virulence determinants in vivo, thus affording us the opportunity to design interventions such as recombinant vaccines to prevent infection. Recent interests are on the use of high throughput DNA sequence analysis to study changes in the oral microbiome of both hard and soft tissues of the mouth. This approach holds much promise for understanding human oral colonization by bacteria in both health and disease states.

We also are involved in educational research on the content and effectiveness of training in research ethics. Federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation require instruction in responsible conduct in research (RCR) for certain trainees receiving support from grants. However, little is known about the effectiveness of such training and its impact on the ethical practice of science. Our research in this area is based on the hypothesis that such education does have a positive impact on the behavior of researchers. We are studying RCR course content and delivery in this context. In particular we aim to determine if RCR instruction has measurable effects on awareness, attention, and behavioral judgments related to research ethics. We are also studying the roles that scientific societies play in fostering responsible conduct of research. Finally, we are examining the role and effectiveness of mentoring mandated by certain types of federal grant support. We believe that the results of our broad-based, systematic approach will provide a foundation for understanding the means and merits of indoctrinating the practices of responsible conduct of research in scientists. We further believe this knowledge can be put to use in helping us improve the effectiveness of such education.


Ripley, E. and F.L. Macrina 2009. Ethics in Oral Health Research. In: Principles in Clinical Oral Health Research. William Giannobile, Brian Burt, and Robert Genco, Editors. Blackwell Publishing, NY In press.
Ripley, E., F.L. Macrina, M. Markowitz, and L. Byrd. (2008). To pay or not to pay: How do we determine participant payment for a clinical study. J. Clinical Research Best Practices 4 (3). [PDF]
Xu P, Alves JM, Kitten T, Brown A, Chen Z, Ozaki LS, Manque P, Ge X, Serrano MG, Puiu D, Hendricks S, Wang Y, Chaplin MD, Akan D, Paik S, Peterson DL, Macrina FL, Buck GA. Genome of the opportunistic pathogen Streptococcus sanguinis. (2007). J Bacteriol. 189: 3166-3175.
Funk, C, Barrett, K, and Macrina FL. (2007). Authorship and Publication Practices: Evaluation of the Effect of Responsible Conduct of Research Instruction to Postdoctoral Trainees. Accountability in Research 14:269-305.
Macrina, FL (2007). Scientific Societies and Promotion of the Responsible Conduct of Research: Codes, Policies, and Education. Academic Medicine 82: 865-869.
Ripley, EBD, Macrina, FL, and Markowitz, M. (2006). Paying Clinical Research Participants: One Institution’s Research Ethics Committees’ Perspective. J. Empirical research on Human Research Ethics 1: 37-44.
Macrina F.L. 2005. Scientific Integrity: Text and Cases in Responsible Conduct of Research (Third Edition). American Society for Microbiology Press, Washington, D.C. 402 pp.
Barrett K.A., Funk C.L., and Macrina F.L. 2005. Awareness of Publication Guidelines and the Responsible Conduct of Research. Accountability in Research 12: 103-206.