Morgan Layne Davis has always been fascinated with the world of microbiology and how microscopic agents wreak havoc on the human body and impact public health. Her passion is fueled by the desire to uncover the mysteries of the unseen world, understand how viruses and bacteria function, evolve, interact with their hosts, and use this knowledge to develop innovative approaches to combat emerging infectious diseases.
Morgan earned two Bachelor of Science degrees (Biological Sciences and Microbiology) from Mississippi State University. She went on to complete a Master of Science under Dr. Janet Donaldson with the thesis entitled, “The effect of oxygen on bile resistance in Listeria monocytogenes.” Following her Master’s, Morgan began research in Dr. Steven Ricke’s lab at the University of Arkansas during which time she was inducted into the American Society for Applied Sciences and published her first book entitled, “Microbial Transposon Mutagenesis: Protocols and Applications” with Springer. With a desire to perform application-based research for clinical microbiology, she trained as a Medical Laboratory Scientist board certified by the American Society of Pathologists. Prior to pursuing a PhD at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biological Sciences, she served on the COVID-19 Emergency Response Taskforce at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) where she developed the long-read sequencing protocol for COVID-19 surveillance currently still being used today. While performing research at the CDC and serving on the COVID-19 Taskforce within the Emerging Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases division, she realized that acquiring a PhD in Biomedical Sciences would allow her more capability to combat public health threats and emerging infectious diseases.
Hometown: Greenville, MS