Please note: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will now be called "UT Health San Antonio."

Search Program Faculty/Research

Phil Serwer, Ph.D.

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Dr. Phil Serwer's lab focuses on making visible the currently unseen, nanoparticle-based aspects of biochemistry and microbiology. They determine mechanisms of bacteriophage assembly by finding and characterizing intermediates not previously observed, with emphasis on DNA packaging intermediates. 

The lab investigates genomics and phage therapy by finding previously invisible bacteriophages. At least one of their intermediates has potential as a dramatically improved drug delivery vehicle. Key procedures include ultracentrifugation, native gel electrophoresis, electron microscopy (including collaborative cryo-EM), collaborative mass spectrometry, single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, next-generation DNA sequencing and next-generation phage genetics via directed evolution. 

They then integrate basic physical and evolution-based theory with our empirical observations and generate/test broadly applicable theories. 

Selected Publications

Guo, F., Liu, Z., Fang, P-A., Zhang, Q., Wright, E.T., Wu, W., Zhang, C., Vago, F., Ren, Y., Jakana, J., Chiu, W., Serwer, P, and Jiang, W. (2014) Capsid expansion mechanism of bacteriophage T7 revealed by multi-state atomic models derived from cryo-EM reconstructions. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA 111, E4606-E4614.

Serwer, P., Wright, E.T., Liu, Z. and Jiang, W. (2014) Length quantization of DNA partially expelled from heads of a bacteriophage T3 mutant. Virology, 456-457, 157-170.

Serwer, P., Wright, E.T., Chang, J.T. and Liu, X. (2014) Enhancing and initiating phage-based therapies. Bacteriophage 4, e961869.

Guo F, Liu Z, Vago F, Ren Y, Wu W, Wright ET, Serwer P, Jiang W. Visualization of uncorrelated, tandem symmetry mismatches in the internal genome packaging apparatus of bacteriophage T7. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Apr 23;110(17):6811-6.

Serwer P, Jiang W. Dualities in the analysis of phage DNA packaging motors. Bacteriophage. 2012 Oct 1;2(4):239-255.

Biochemistry and Structural Biology


Ph.D., Biophysics, Harvard University, 1973

M.S., Microbiology, New York Medical College, 1968

A.A.S., Physics, University of Rochester, 1963


Phone: (210) 567-3765

Research Profile
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