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Erin D. Goley, Ph.D.

Headshot of Erin D. Goley
  • Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry

Research Interests

Bacterial Cell Biology; Cytokinesis; Cytoskeleton; Cellular organization and dynamic reorganization more


Dr. Erin Goley is an associate professor of biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Goley’s research focuses on bacterial cell biology, with an emphasis on the molecular mechanisms governing growth and cell division.

Dr. Goley received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and mathematics from Hood College. She earned her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California at Berkeley. She completed postdoctoral training in bacterial cell biology at Stanford University in 2011. Dr. Goley joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2011.

She is a member of the American Society for Cell Biology, the American Society for Microbiology, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Goley received an Innovation Award from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Discovery Fund. She was a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. more


  • Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • B.A.; Hood College (Maryland) (1998)
  • Ph.D.; University of California (Berkeley) (California) (2006)

Additional Training

  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2011, Bacterial Cell Biology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Goley investigates cytoskeletal processes in bacteria, with current effort concentrated on understanding cytokinesis in the model bacterium, Caulobacter crescentus.

To tackle the question of how bacterial cells divide, Dr. Goley’s team focuses primarily on the function and regulation of the highly conserved tubulin-like protein, FtsZ. FtsZ is thought to act as a scaffold for assembly of the cytokinetic machinery, to generate constrictive forces that drive division, and, ultimately, to direct remodeling of the cell wall. However, the molecular details of FtsZ function are largely unknown.

To gain insight into the mechanisms and regulation of bacterial growth and division, Dr. Goley’s team is using a multi-faceted approach, combining bacterial genetics, microscopy, biochemistry, and in vitro reconstitution to obtain a comprehensive view of the mechanisms of FtsZ action.

These studies will inform models for how proteins at the division site direct cell growth and division and how these processes are integrated with other cell-cycle events in time and space. In light of the high degree of conservation of cell division proteins among bacteria, results will be relevant to the vast majority of bacterial species, including human and animal pathogens.


The Goley Lab is focused on understanding cellular organization and dynamic reorganization in bacteria, with particular focus on the roles of the cytoskeleton in these phenomena. Researchers in the lab use cell biological, biochemical, genetic and structural approaches to dissect cell biological processes with the aim of understanding how they work in molecular detail. Current research is focused on the mechanisms and regulation of cytokinesis and morphogenesis in bacteria.

Lab Website: Goley Lab

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Lariviere PJ, Szwedziak P, Mahone CR, Löwe J, Goley ED. "FzlA, an essential regulator of FtsZ filament curvature, controls constriction rate during Caulobacter division." Mol Micro. 2018. 107:108-197.

Sundararajan K, Vecchiarelli AG, Mizuuchi K, Goley ED. "Species- and C-terminal linker-dependent variations in the dynamic behavior of FtsZ on membranes in vitro". Mol Micro. 2018; 110:47-63.

Sundararajan K and Goley ED. "The intrinsically disordered C-terminal linker of FtsZ regulates protofilament dynamics and superstructure in vitro". J Biol Chem. 2017; 292:20509-20527.

Meier EL, Daitch AK, Yao Q, Bhargava A, Jensen GJ, Goley ED. "FtsEX-mediated regulation of the final stages of cell division reveals morphogenetic plasticity in Caulobacter crescentus". PLOS Genetics. 2017; 13:e1006999.

Woldemeskel SA, McQuillen R, Hessel A, Xiao J, Goley ED. "A conserved coiled-coil protein pair focuses the cytokinetic Z-ring in Caulobacter crescentus". Mol Micro. 2017; 105:721-740.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry

Graduate Program in Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology

Activities & Honors


  • Innovation Award, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Discovery Fund, 2015
  • Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, 2007
  • Graduate Research Fellow, National Science Foundation, 2001
  • Catalyst Award, Johns Hopkins University, 2017


  • The American Society for Cell Biology, 2002
  • The American Society for Microbiology, 2011

    Plenary Session Convener, 2016

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    Division J Chair-Elect, 2015

  • The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2014

Professional Activities

  • Director of Admissions, BCMB Graduate Program, 2018
  • Member, BCMB Graduate Admissions Committee, 2014
  • Member, MSTP/MD-PhD Committee, 2015
  • Co-organizer, BCMB Graduate Program Retreat, 2013
  • Editorial Board Member, Scientific Reports, 2015
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