Faculty & Staff

  • Image of Timothy D. Paustian

    Timothy D. Paustian

    Teaching Professor - Distinguished

    2517 Microbial Sciences Building
    Office: (608) 263-4921
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B.S., Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison 1985
Ph.D., Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison 1989

Research Overview

My research focuses on microbiology education. I have led or been on several teams working on developing and using concept inventories to determine students' mastery of microbiology and immunology. My current research involves helping students increase their performance on multiple-choice exams.


  • Microbiology 303: Biology of Microorganisms
  • Microbiology 304: Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory
  • Microbiology 527: Physiology of Microorganisms Laboratory
  • Microbiology 551: Physiological Diversity of Procaryotes Laboratory


The courses in the major are taught on a rotational basis, and I teach Microbiology 303, Microbiology 304, Microbiology 527 and Microbiology 551 in various years. I am also active in the scholarship of teaching: participating in seminars, presentations, and publications. Other responsibilities include:

• Author of Through the Microscope an online microbiology textbook, Why Microbes Matter  a book for the general public, and Virtual Microbiology 
• Serving on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education.

Recent publications

Dow, E. G., Wood-Charlson, E. M., Biller, S. J., Paustian, T., Schirmer, A., Sheik, C. S., Whitham, J. M., Krebs, R., Goller, C. C., Allen, B., Crockett, Z., & Arkin, A. P. (2021). Bioinformatic Teaching Resources – For Educators, by Educators – Using KBase, a Free, User-Friendly, Open Source Platform. Frontiers in Education6, 369. DOI

Ramsey, J., McIntosh, B., Renfro, D., Aleksander, S. A., LaBonte, S., Ross, C., Zweifel, A. E., Liles, N., Farrar, S., Gill, J. J., Erill, I., Ades, S., Berardini, T. Z., Bennett, J. A., Brady, S., Britton, R., Carbon, S., Caruso, S. M., Clements, D., … Hu, J. C. (2021). Crowdsourcing biocuration: The Community Assessment of Community Annotation with Ontologies (CACAO). PLoS Computational Biology17(10), e1009463. Pubmed DOI

 Justement, L. B., Bruns, H. A., Elliott, S., Sletten, S., Sparks-Thissen, R., Condry, D., Wisenden, B., Lal, A., Paustian, T., Mixter, P. F., Taylor, R., Pritchard, R., Vanniasinkam, T., Dorsam, G., Freier, D., & Pandey, S. (2020). Development of Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Immunology Education –a Report by a Task Force on Undergraduate Immunology Curriculum Guidelines. The Journal of Immunology204(1_Supplement), 222.17-222.17. DOI

Paustian TD, Briggs AG, Brennan RE, Boury N, Buchner J, Harris S, Horak REA, Hughes LE, Katz-Amburn DS, Massimelli MJ, McDonald AH, Primm TP, Smith AC, Stevens AM, Yung SB. 2017. Development, Validation, and Application of the Microbiology Concept Inventory. J Microbiol Biol Educ 18:1–10. Pubmed .  DOI

Briggs AG, Hughes LE, Brennan RE, Buchner J, Horak REA, Amburn DSK, Mcdonald AH, Primm TP, Smith AC, Stevens AM, Yung SB, Paustian TD. 2017. Concept Inventory Development Reveals Common Student Misconceptions about Microbiology. J Microbiol Biol Educ 18:1–9. Pubmed . DOI