Portrait of Mowery

Patricia A MoweryProfessor of Biology

Joined faculty in 2007

Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2003)
B.S., Biochemistry, Indiana University (1997)
M.A., Sociology, Yale University (1991)
B.A., Sociology, University of Chicago (1989)

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Contact Information

RosenbergPhone (315) 781-3184

Scholarly Interest

  • Anti-cancer agents
  • Structure-function studies
  • Protein interactions
  • Signaling systems
  • Bacterial sensing and motility
  • Bacterial genetics


My current major area of research involves developing anti-cancer agents in collaboration with HWS organic chemist, Prof. Erin Pelkey, and Christopher Newport molecular modeler, Prof. Kathryn Cole. The biological and modeling results allow us to determine what structural requirements are important for making an effective compound, and we use this information to refine the molecules for increased potency. We have identified numerous promising compounds, and we have discovered that they inhibit tubulin polymerization. Tubulin is a protein critical for cell shape, migration, proliferation, and signaling, and therefore preventing its function blocks growth of cancer cells. My other major area of research has been on the bacterial plant pathogen  Xylella fastidiosa , which migrates through grapevines causing Pierce's disease, a deadly infection. Motile bacteria use a process known as chemotaxis, which is the movement of organisms towards nutrients or away from noxious compounds.  X. fastidiosa  has numerous genes that are homologous to chemotaxis genes found in Escherichia coli , the canonical Gram-negative chemotaxis system. Disruption of the putative  X. fastidiosa  chemotaxis genes prevent motility and dramatically limits disease. Our laboratory explored how the chemotaxis genes controlled the movement of  X. fastidiosa  and how this knowledge can prevent Pierce's disease. We also explored additional genes important for  X. fastidiosa -induced disease and potential biocontrols to prevent Pierce’s disease.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Biology: HIV and related topics (Biol167)
  • Introduction to Biology: What does it mean to be human? (Biol167)
  • Microbiology (Biol222)
  • Immunology (Biol302)
  • Biology Senior Seminar: Viruses (Biol460)
  • Biochemistry Senior Seminar: Viruses (Bche460)


*Hurysz B, *Evans BA, *Laryea RN, *Boyer BE, *Coburn TE, *Dexter MS, *Edwards MA, *Faulkner GV, *Huss RL, *Lafferty MM, *Manning M, *McNulty M, *Melvin SJ, *Mitrow CM, *Patel RR, *Pierce K, *Russo J, *Seminer AM, *Sockett KA, *Webster NR, Cole KE, Mowery P, Pelkey ET. 2023. Synthesis, Modeling, and Biological Evaluation of Anti-Tubulin Indole-Substituted Furanones. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 90: 129347.

Mowery P, *Filkorn MM, *Hurysz B, *Kwansare DO, *Lafferty MM, *McFadden MA, *Neerukonda ND, *Patel RR, *Pierce K, *Sockett KA, *Truax NJ, *Webster NR, Pelkey ET. 2021. Discovery of an Indole-Substituted Furanone with Tubulin Polymerization Inhibition Activity. 
Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett . 41: 127991.Hao L, Johnson K, Cursino L, Mowery P, Burr TJ. 2017. Characterization of the Xylella fastidiosa PD1311 gene mutant and its suppression of Pierce’s disease on grapevines. Mol. Plant Path. 18: 684-694.Hao L, Athinuwat D, Johnson K, Cursino L, Burr TJMowery P. 2017. Xylella fastidiosa pil-chp operon is involved in regulating key structural genes of both type I and IV pili. Vitis. 56: 55-62.

Mowery P, *Banales Mejia F, *Franceschi CL, *Kean MH, *Kwansare DO, *Lafferty MM, *Neerukonda ND, *Rolph CE, *Truax NJ, Pelkey ET. 2017. Synthesis and evaluation of the anti-proliferative activity of diaryl-3-pyrrolin-2-ones and fused analogs. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 27: 191-195.

Hao L, Zaini PA, Hoch HC, Burr TJ, Mowery P. 2016. Grape cultivar and sap culture conditions affect the development of Xylella fastidiosa phenotypes associated with Pierce's disease. PlosOne. 11(8): e0160978.

Mowery P, Ames P, Reiser RH, Parkinson JS. 2015. Chemotactic signaling by single-chain chemoreceptors. PlosOne. 10(12): e0145267.

Johnson KL, Cursino L, Athinuwat D, Burr TJ, Mowery P. 2015. Potential complications when developing gene deletion clones in Xylella fastidiosaBMC Res. Notes. 8: 155.

Cursino L, Athinuwat D, *Patel K, Galvani CD, Zaini PA, Li Y, De La Fuente L, Hoch HC, Burr TJ, Mowery P. 2015. Characterization of the Xylella fastidiosa PD1671 gene encoding degenerate c-di-GMP GGDEF/EAL domains, and its role in the development of Pierce's disease. Plos One. 10: e0121851.

Cursino L, Galvani CD, Athinuwat D, Zaini PA, Li Y, De La Fuente L, Hoch HC, Burr TJ, Mowery P. 2011. Identification of an operon, Pil-Chp, that controls twitching motility and virulence in Xylella fastidiosaMol. Plant Microbe Interact. 24: 1198-1206.

Mowery P, *Ostler JB, Parkinson JS. 2008. Different signaling roles of two conserved residues in the cytoplasmic hairpin tip of Tsr, the Escherichia coli serine chemoreceptor. J. Bacteriol. 190: 8065-8074.

Carlson CB, Mowery P, Owen RM, Dykhuizen EC, Kiessling LL. 2007. Selective tumor cell targeting using low-affinity multivalent interactions. ACS Chemical Biology 2:  A-I.

Owen RM, Carlson CB, Xu J, Mowery P, Fasella E, Kiessling LL. 2007. Bifunctional ligands that target cells displaying the  a v b 3 integrin. ChemBioChem 8: 68-82.

Mowery P, Yang ZQ, Gordon EJ, Dwir O, Spencer AG, Alon R, Kiessling L. 2004. Synthetic glycoprotein mimics inhibit L-selectin-mediated rolling and promote L-selectin shedding. Chem. Biol. 11: 725-732.

Warren, RF, Henk A, *Mowery P, Holub E, Innes RW. 1998.  A mutation within the leucine-rich repeat domain of the Arabidopsis disease resistance gene RPS5 partially suppresses multiple bacterial and downy mildew resistance genes. Plant Cell 10: 1439-1452.

*Undergraduate author

Research during COVID

Teaching during COVID