Picture of Timothy J. Donohue

Timothy J. Donohue

Professor of Bacteriology
UW Foundation Chairman Fetzer-Bascom Professor

Address: Wisconsin Energy Institute 1552 University Avenue, Suite 5166
Phone: 608-262-4663
Lab Phone: 608-265-8465
Email: tdonohue@bact.wisc.edu
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Overview · Lab · Publications

Start and Promotion Dates

  • Assistant Professor: 1986
  • Associate Professor: 1991
  • Full Professor: 1996


B.S., Life Sciences, Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn 1975 M.S., Microbiology, Pennsylvania State University 1977 Ph.D., Microbiology,Pennsylvania State University 1980 Postdoctoral Research: Microbiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Overview

Our laboratory analyzes pathways and networks that microbes use to grow, generate biomass, or produce alternative fuels from sunlight or other renewable sources of energy. To dissect this fundamentally important problem, we are studying metabolic and regulatory pathways of the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides. By taking advantage of the R. sphaeroides genome sequence, microarrays, proteomics and molecular techniques we are defining how the energy in sunlight or renewable nutrients is partitioned into processes like cell growth or formation of biofuels. The metabolic pathways, global signal transduction networks, alternative sigma factors, and signals that control expression of well-studied components of the respiratory and photosynthetic electron transport chains are being defined or modelled using mutants, in vitro systems and computational techniques. The long range goals are to identify metabolic and regulatory activities that are critical to bioenergy formation, to obtain a thorough understanding of energy-conserving pathways of agricultural, environmental and medical importance, and to use computational models to help design microbial machines with increased capacity to utilize solar energy, generate renewable sources of energy, remove toxic compounds, or synthesize biodegradable polymers.


Microbiology 901: Scientific Ethics


Pricipal Investigator and Director, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Trainer, NIH Biotechnology Training Program Trainer, NIH Molecular Biosciences Training Program Trainer, NIH Genetics Training Program


  • 2016 - UW Foundation Chairman Fetzer-Bascom Professor
  • 2013 - The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) President
  • 2009 - American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow
  • 2000 - American Academy of Microbiology Fellow
  • 1993 - CALS Pound Research Award