Denise L. Monti headshot.

Denise L. Monti

Assistant Professor
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Campbell Hall 106
(205) 934-4575

Research and Teaching Interests: Phage Biology and Genetics, Undergraduate STEM Education

Office Hours: By appointment


  • B.S., Cornell University, Biology
  • M.S., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Microbiology
  • Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, Epidemiology

Dr. Monti's undergraduate work (biology with a concentration in ecology and evolution) led her to a position as a fellow at the Oak Ridge Institute Fellow for Science and Education. There she worked on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention STARHS project, a joint epidemiology/wet lab research endeavor with the goal of more accurately estimating seroprevalence of HIV infection. Participation in this program solidified her desire to pursue graduate school and she entered the program at UAB. As a Ph.D. candidate, Dr. Monti studied the use of consensus sequences and virus-like particles for novel HIV vaccine development under the guidance of Dr. Beatrice Hahn. At the same time, she successfully completed a Masters of Public Health degree in Epidemiology.

Phage Explorations
The UAB Phage Explorations Program is a two-semester undergraduate research course that builds on themes and techniques from across biology including microbiology, molecular biology, electron microscopy, and bioinformatics. Learn more about the program on its website.

Dr. Monti is interested in cutting-edge teaching and learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). In 2000, Dr. Monti started the Phage Genomics research program at UAB with a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This program is designed to engage undergraduate students in hands-on research in the context of a classroom environment. Dr. Monti also developed the department’s first online course, Topics in Contemporary Biology, and is interested in building online learning programs in biology. She officially joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2013.

Dr. Monti participates in BioRad’s Science Ambassador program and is available for outreach programs for middle and high school students. More information about the BioRad Science Ambassador program is available online.

Research Interests

Dr. Monti is currently isolating and analyzing phages (viruses that infect bacteria) with students enrolled in the Phage Genomics couse. After four years of studying mycobacteriophage, our Phage Genomics team is now focused on a new host — Acinetobacter. Acinetobacter is one of six bacteria listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an ESKAPE pathogen (bacteria that have demonstrated increasing antibiotic resistance.) Cases of Acinetobacter infection were also documented in military hospitals during the Gulf War.

We are currently isolating and characterizing phages that infect Acinetobacter to learn more about Acintobacter phage viral diversity and discover novel genes.

Recent Courses

  • Phage Genomics I
  • Phage Genomics II
  • Online Topics in Contemporary Biology Lecture
  • Online Topics in Contemporary Biology Lab

Select Publications

  • Hatfull GF, Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science Program, KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV Mycobacterial Genetics Course Students, Phage Hunters Integrating Research and Education Program, "Complete genome sequences of 138 mycobacteriophages," Journal of Virology 86 (No. 4, 2012): 2382-84.

Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies

  • American Society for Microbiology (Southeastern Branch)
  • BioRad Science Ambassador