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Debra L Milton

I am the national director for the National Doctoral Programme in Infections and Antibiotics, NDPIA, and I am a group leader studying infection biology at the Department of Molecular Biology.

Works at

Professor at Department of Molecular Biology Section: Research group Debra Milton
6K och 6L, Sjukhusområdet Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå

My research focuses on virulence and survival mechanisms of the fish pathogen Vibrio anguillarum. My group investigates how this pathogen communicates within its population to coordinate complex activities, such as biofilm formation, colonization of host tissues, and protein secretion via the type VI secretion system. Characterization of these survival mechanisms will help us to understand how this pathogen causes disease in fish. In collaboration with a group at Troy University, Alabama, I also investigate the microbial safety of the use of blenderized whole foods for tube feeding.


My research career started with my PhD studies at The University of Alabama, which were completed in 1986. This work was one of the first to utilize denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis to isolate mutant DNA fragments as part of an in vitro mutagenesis. The Escherichia coli trpA gene was mutated and expressed to aid purification of the TrpA -subunit for functional analyses. My first postdoctoral project (1986-1989) analyzed the sequence structures required for DNA to bend and was performed at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah. My second postdoctoral project at Umeå University (1990) started my work on Vibrio anguillarum.

Nutrition in clinical practice, John Wiley & Sons 2022, Vol. 37, (4) : 907-912
Milton, Debra L.; Murphy, Brie; Johnson, Teresa W.; et al.
Type 3 secretion systems: methods and protocols, Humana Press 2017 : 11-31
Francis, Matthew S; Amer, Ayad A A; Milton, Debra; et al.
Standards in Genomic Sciences, Vol. 10
Holm, Kare Olav; Nilsson, Kristina; Hjerde, Erik; et al.
Journal of Applied Microbiology, Vol. 118, (4) : 792-802
Rivera, L.; Lopez-Patino, M. A.; Milton, Debra L.; et al.
Journal of Fish Diseases, Vol. 38, (10) : 891-900
Schwenteit, J. M.; Weber, Barbara; Milton, Debra L.; et al.
Biomolecular NMR Assignments, Springer Netherlands 2014, Vol. 8, (1) : 177-179
Bobay, Benjamin G; Thompson, Richele J; Milton, Debra L; et al.
PLOS ONE, PLOS one 2014, Vol. 9, (10) : e111801-
Li, Xuan; Yang, Qian; Dierckens, Kristof; et al.
Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 15, (5) : 1400-1415
Akram, Neelam; Palovaara, Joakim; Forsberg, Jeremy; et al.
BMC Microbiology, BioMed Central 2012, Vol. 12 : 287-
Garcia-Aljaro, Cristina; Melado-Rovira, Silvia; Milton, Debra L.; et al.
Infection and Immunity, American Society for Microbiology 2012, Vol. 80, (2) : 575-584
Ishikawa, Takahiko; Sabharwal, Dharmesh; Bröms, Jeanette; et al.
PLOS ONE, San Francisco: Public Library of Science 2012, Vol. 7, (5) : e37678-
Lindell, Kristoffer; Fahlgren, Anna; Hjerde, Erik; et al.
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, Inter Research 2011, Vol. 95 : 167-173
Farto, R; Milton, Debra L; Bermúdez, M B; et al.
Microbiology, Society for General Microbiology 2011, Vol. 157, (12) : 3324-3339
Weber, Barbara; Lindell, Kristoffer; El Qaidi, Samir; et al.
PLoS biology, Public Library Science 2010, Vol. 8
Gómez-Consarnau, Laura; Akram, Neelam; Lindell, Kristoffer; et al.
Environmental Microbiology Reports, Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2010, Vol. 2, (1) : 133-139
Weber, Barbara; Chen, Chang; Milton, Debra L.
PLOS ONE, Vol. 4, (8)
Ishikawa, Takahiko; Rompikuntal, Pramod Kumar; Lindmark, Barbro; et al.
Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 11, (12) : 3018-3028
Weber, Barbara; Hasic, Medisa; Chen, Chang; et al.
Microbiology, Reading: Society for General Microbiology 2008, Vol. 154, (3) : 767-780
Weber, Barbara; Croxatto, Antony; Chen, Chang; et al.
Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 9, (2) : 370-382
Croxatto, Antony; Lauritz, Johan; Chen, Chang; et al.
Syst Appl Microbiol, Vol. 29, (6) : 433-45
Buchholtz, Christiane; Nielsen, Kristian Fog; Milton, Debra L; et al.
Int J Med Microbiol, Vol. 296, (2-3) : 61-71
Milton, Debra L
Environ Microbiol, Vol. 7, (2) : 229-40
Tait, Karen; Joint, Ian; Daykin, Mavis; et al.
Molecular Microbiology, Wiley-Blackwell 2004, Vol. 52, (6) : 1677-1689
Croxatto, Antony; Pride, John; Hardman, Andrea; et al.
Journal of Bacteriology, American Society for Microbiology 2002, Vol. 184, (6) : 1617-1629
Croxatto, Antony; Chalker, Victoria J; Lauritz, Johan; et al.
Science, Vol. 298, (5596) : 1207-1207
Joint, Ian; Tait, Karen; Callow, Maureen E.; et al.
Journal of Bacteriology, American Society for Microbiology 2002, Vol. 184, (6) : 1630-1639
Wang, Su-Yan; Lauritz, Johan; Jass, Jana; et al.
Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 183, (12) : 3537-3547
Milton, Debra L.; Chalker, V. J.; Kirke, D.; et al.
Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 182, (8) : 2326-2328
Ormonde, P.; Hörstedt, P.; O'Toole, R.; et al.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, Vol. 355, (1397) : 667-680
Williams, P.; Camara, M.; Hardman, A.; et al.
Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 179, (9) : 3004-3012
Milton, Debra L.; Hardman, A.; Camara, M.; et al.
Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 178, (17) : 5188-5198
McGee, Karen; Hörstedt, Per; Milton, Debra L.
Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 178, (5) : 1310-1319
Milton, Debra L.; O'Toole, Ronan; Hörstedt, Per; et al.
Gene, Vol. 164, (1) : 95-100
Milton, Debra L.; Norqvist, Anders; Wolf-Watz, Hans
Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 174, (22) : 7235-7244
Milton, Debra L.; Norqvist, Anders; Wolf-Watz, Hans

Research groups

Head of research
Debra Milton Lab