Mike Son

Associate Professor
Phone: (603) 535-3199
Office: Exploration & Discovery, Boyd Science Center Rm 214, MSC 48, Plymouth, NH 03264


BSc, MSc, University of Calgary; PhD, University of Hawaii

Mike received his B.S. (Microbiology) and M.S. (Biochemistry) from the University of Calgary. He then attended the University of Hawaii and investigated Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenesis during lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. Mike recalls two highlights during his studies there: (1) meeting 4-time NFL Pro-Bowler Boomer Esiason and (2) processing up to 40 ml of fresh sputum. In 2008, Mike graduated and became a post-doctoral researcher at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. There, he turned his focus onto another bodily fluid, investigating the pathogenesis of Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of severe watery diarrhea. Mike’s teaching style previously earned him recognition with nominations and awards for teaching excellence, and this deep-rooted passion for teaching brought him to PSU in 2012. He incorporates his research and curiosity for science with his teaching to educate his students with the most up-to-date information while taking lessons from the past discoveries. Outside of science, Mike is an avid professional amateur fly fisherman and “[is] only doing science until he gets his PGA Tour card.”

Selected publications/presentations/exhibitions

Son, MS, and Taylor, RK. 2011. Genetic screens and biochemical assays to characterize Vibrio cholerae O1 biotypes: classical and El Tor. Curr. Protoc. Microbiol. 6A.2.1-6A.2.8. NIHMSID315404
Son, MS, and Taylor, RK. 2011. Vibriocidal assay to determine antibody titer of patient sera samples. Curr. Protoc. Microbiol. 6A.3.1-6A.3.9. PMID22045586; PMCID3228410
Son, MS, Megli, CJ, Kovacikova, G, Qadri, F, and Taylor, RK. 2011. Characterization of Vibrio cholerae O1 El Tor biotype variant clinical isolates from Bangladesh and Haiti, including a molecular genetic analysis of virulence genes. J. Clin. Microbiol. 49: 3739-3749. PMID21880975; PMCID3209127
Son, MS, and Taylor, RK. 2011. Preparing DNA Libraries for Multiplexed Paired-End Deep Sequencing for Illumina GA Sequencers. Curr. Protoc. Microbiol. 1E.4.1-1E.4.13. PMID21400673; PMCID3076644
Son, MS, Matthews, WJ, Kang, Y, Nguyen, DT, and Hoang, TT. 2007. In vivo evidence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa nutrient acquisition and pathogenesis in the cystic fibrosis lung. Infect. Immun. 75: 5313-5324. PMID17724070; PMCID2168270

Awards or recognition

First Place Presentation Award, ASM Hawaii Branch, HI (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007)
Nominated for Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, University of Hawaii, HI (2004)
Canadian Hunter Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, University of Calgary, Canada (2002)
University of Calgary Teaching Assistant Award of Excellence, University of Calgary, Canada (2002)

Courses Taught

Microbiology for Nursing Students – BI 2340 (Spring semesters)
Microbiology for Biology Majors – BI 3040 (Fall semesters)
Undergraduate Research – BI 4950 (Open enrollment)
Biology Seminar – BI 4960 (Spring semesters)


The focus of my research is on the pathogenesis of Vibrio cholerae, the Gram negative bacterium that is the etiological agent for the intestinal disease cholera. The hallmark characteristic of cholera is severe watery diarrhea and vomiting, resulting in severe dehydration of the infected individual. The disease, if not diagnosed and treated quickly and properly, will quickly lead to death of the patient within a few days. Our primary research goal is to identify the mechanism by which newly emerging variant strains of V. cholerae are demonstrating increased virulence, causing more severe cases of the disease at a much faster rate than previously observed. We employ a plethora of techniques used in molecular biology, bacteriology and microbiology, including genetic manipulation (DNA/RNA), gene expression assays and functional characterization of proteins. Please contact me or visit my website for more information.

Professor Son's Homepage