Erin D. Goley, Ph.D.

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

Research Interests

Bacterial Cell Biology; Cytokinesis; Morphogenesis; Cytoskeleton; Antibiotics; Stress Responses more


Dr. Erin Goley is an associate professor of Biological Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, with a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Goley’s research focuses on bacterial cell biology, with an emphasis on the molecular mechanisms governing growth and cell division. Her work identifies the mechanisms bacteria use to replicate and to withstand stress, which may inform development of new antibiotic therapies.

Dr. Goley received her undergraduate degree summa cum laude in biochemistry and mathematics from Hood College. She earned her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California at Berkeley, where she studied the regulation of actin nucleation with Matt Welch. She completed postdoctoral training in bacterial cell biology with Lucy Shapiro at Stanford University in 2011. Dr. Goley joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2011.

Dr. Goley 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, was the recipient of the 2020 Lee Hood Prize in Biomedical Science, was named an Inaugural Randall Reed Scholar and was selected as a Fellow of the American Society for Cell Biology. 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

In the Goley laboratory, we take an interdisciplinary approach to study the fundamental mechanisms by which bacteria grow, divide, and adapt to changing growth conditions. We use the dimorphic α-proteobacterium Caulobacter crescentus as one model for these studies, as its curved-rod morphology and well-characterized cell and developmental cycle make it particularly well-suited to address questions of morphogenesis and growth control. We recently initiated studies into a second α-proteobacterium - the obligate intracellular, tick-borne human pathogen Rickettsia parkeri - to investigate the cell biology of the enigmatic Rickettsiales. With their distinct lifestyles and physiology, Caulobacter and Rickettsia present complementary models to understand the diversity of growth and adaptation mechanisms among the α-proteobacteria.

We use a multi-pronged approach combining genetics, genomics, imaging, biochemistry, and in vitro reconstitution to understand the cell biology and adaptation mechanisms of these organisms. We are highly collaborative and love to work with specialists in advanced imaging techniques, new analytical approaches and tools, structural biology, and complementary model organisms. Our fundamental research into essential aspects of bacterial physiology will inform antibiotic development and resistance mechanisms, as well as synthetic cell biology efforts. Currently, we are investigating molecular mechanisms by which bacterial growth is regulated at both a global (e.g. during stress) and a local (e.g. at the division site during cytokinesis) level.


The Goley Lab is focused on understanding how bacteria grow, divide, and respond to antibiotics and others stresses in their environment. Researchers in the lab use cell biological, biochemical, genetic and structural approaches to dissect cell biological processes in bacteria with the aim of understanding how they work in molecular detail. A detailed understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of bacterial growth is required to confront the growing crisis in antibacterial resistance.

Lab Website: Goley Lab

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Mahone CR, Payne IP, Lyu Z, McCausland JW, Barrows JM, Xiao J, Yang X, Goley ED. Integration of cell wall synthesis activation and chromosome segregation during cell division in Caulobacter. J Cell Biol. 223:e202211026. (2024)

Figueroa-Cuilan WM, Irazoki O, Feeley M, Smith E, Nguyen T, Cava F, Goley ED. Quantitative analysis of morphogenesis and growth dynamics in an obligate intracellular bacterium. MBoC. 34(7):ar69. (2023)

Daitch AK, Orsburn BC, Chen Z, Alvarez L, Eberhard CD, Sundararajan K, Zeinert R, Kreitler DF, Jakoncic J, Chien P, Cava F, Gabelli SB, Goley ED. EstG is a novel esterase required for cell envelope integrity in Caulobacter. Current Biology. 33:228-240. (2023) 

Woldemeskel SA, Daitch AK, Alvarez L, Gaël Panis, Zeinert R, Gonzalez D, Smith E, Collier J, Chien P, Cava F, Viollier PH, Goley ED. The conserved transcriptional regulator CdnL is required for metabolic homeostasis and morphogenesis in Caulobacter. PLoS Genetics. 2020. 16:e1008591

Sundararajan K, Miguel A, Desmarais SM, Meier EL, Huang KC, and Goley ED. The bacterial tubulin FtsZ requires its intrinsically disordered linker to direct robust cell wall construction. Nat Commun. 6:7281. (2015)

Contact for Research Inquiries

520 WBSB
725 N Wolfe St
Baltimore, MD 21205 map

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 - 2010
  • Graduate Research Fellow, National Science Foundation, 2001 - 2004
  • Catalyst Award, Johns Hopkins University, 2017
  • Lee Hood Prize in Biomedical Science, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2020
  • Randall Reed Scholar, Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2024
  • Fellow, American Society for Cell Biology, 2023


  • 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 - 2018
  • Member, MSTP/MD-PhD Committee, 2015 - 2018
  • Co-organizer, BCMB Graduate Program Retreat, 2013 - 2018
  • Editorial Board Member, Scientific Reports, 2015 - 2017
  • ASCB Council, American Society for Cell Biology, 2021 - 2023
  • Chair, MRAF Standing Study Section, 2023 - 2025

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Q&A with Dr. Goley in Current Biology 2021, ScienceDirect (March 2021)

Erin Goley: Catching the bug for studying the cytoskeleton, Journal of Cell Biology (2017)

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