Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Mary Jackson


Lab Location: B426 Microbiology Building
Office: B423A Microbiology Building
Phone: (970) 491-3582

Research Interests and Accomplishments

Our research focuses on the biosynthetic pathways (enzymes and transporters) of major cell envelope components - (lipo)polysaccharides, (glyc​o)lipids, and fatty acids - playing important roles in the physiology and/or pathogenicity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other paramount mycobacterial pathogens.

Another aspect of our research concerns the development of novel anti-mycobacterial drugs and the study of the mechanisms of resistance to biocides of slow- and fast-growing mycobacteria of clinical interest.

Finally, we are also interested in neglected and emerging non-tuberculous mycobacterial pathogens, including Mycobacterium leprae (the etiological agent of leprosy) and Mycobacterium abscessus complex species, and their strategies to persist in the environment, transmit to new hosts and cause disease.​

Research Highlights

Highlights from our work include the discovery of a number of enzymes (glycosyltransferases, acyltransferases, methyltransferases, polyketide synthases) and regulators involved in the biogenesis of mycobacterial glycoconjugates and the recognition of the pivotal role played by glycosyltransferases of the polyprenyl-phosphate-sugar-dependent class, in particular, in the building of the major cell envelope glycolipids and (lipo)polysaccharides, phosphatidylinositol mannosides, arabinogalactan and lipoarabinomannan. Another highlight was the discovery of a lipoprotein transporter (LppX) involved in the translocation of virulence-associated lipids (the phthiocerol dimycocerosates) to the cell surface of M. tuberculosis and the first demonstration that the translocation of complex lipids in mycobacteria involved mechanisms similar to those used by Gram-negative bacteria to export lipoproteins to the outer membrane.

In recent years, we elucidated how two former anti-TB drugs known as Isoxyl and Thiacetazone exert their bactericidal activity against M. tuberculosis and identified MmpL3 as an integral membrane transporter required for the export of hallmark entities of the cell envelope of all mycobacteria: the mycolic acids. The transport activity of MmpL3 is inhibited by several classes of anti-TB inhibitors currently under development.

Our recent studies on the environmental persistence of M. leprae and M. bovis led to the discovery that the leprosy bacillus and other slow-growing mycobacteria may be kept viable and virulent for extended periods of time (> 8 months) outside a mammalian host, inside free-living amoebae.​


Pub Med:​ ​

Research Support

Our research program is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health / National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other for-profit and not-for-profit partners.

We collaborate with numerous academic and industrial partners both nationally and internationally.

Mycobacteria Research Laboratories

Learn more about the Mycobacteria Research Laboratories (MRL)​​​​

make a gift
Contact Us:
1682 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1682

(970) 491-6144

(970) 491-0603