Michael P. Murtaugh, PhD, 1951-2018

Michael P. Murtaugh

Contact Info

Lab Phone 612-624-4926

Lab Address:
205G Veterinary Science Building
1971 Commonwealth Ave.
St. Paul, MN, 55108

PhD, Entomology, Ohio State University

BS, Biology, University of Notre Dame


Professor Michael Murtaugh, PhD, passed away Tuesday, September 18th 2018 from complications related to his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 67. His lab continues to carry on Dr. Murtaugh's research in molecular biology.

The Murtaugh Lab research focuses on molecular mechanisms of disease resistance focuses on the interaction of pigs with bacterial and, especially, viral pathogens. The approach emphasizes discovery science using molecular and cellular approaches; reagent development is essential in porcine immunology, and subsequent studies often yield novel insights. The core technologies used, include quantitative gene expression, proteomics, high throughput sequencing, mass spectrometry, recombinant protein expression, and immuno-cellular methods, are readily transported to other research models and questions, resulting in a history of collaboration with colleagues in veterinary medicine, human medicine, and biological sciences. Areas in which notable scientific contributions have been made include: (1) fundamental porcine immunobiology related to immune protection and immunomodulation, (2) porcine anti-viral immunity, including lymphocyte memory and mechanisms of protection, (3) molecular virology, evolution, and discovery science to elucidate viral origins and evolution as a means to understand genetic diversity and immunological challenges, and (4) collaborative research with partners who value our experimental toolkit, purified antigen production, single gene and transcriptome quantitative analysis, mass spectrometry, immune cell functional assays, and a large animal immunology model, including a cholera toxin model of mucosal immunity, that have enabled collaborators in xenotransplantation, pharmacotoxicology, physiology, epidemiology and other disciplines unrelated to our primary interest in porcine immunity to infectious disease.


Molecular and cellular immunology, immunogenetics, viral immunology, viral evolution, molecular diagnostics, and gene expression; Graduate student education, animal health research, science communication

Awards & Recognition

Boehringer Ingelheim Swine Respiratory Disease Research Award, 2016


Research Summary/Interests

We study innate and adaptive immune responses in swine, including porcine immunology and anti-viral immunity. Expertise includes gene expression analysis, recombinant protein expression, immune assays, B cell biology, genomics, transcriptomics, and gene and protein discovery. Basic research is translated into veterinary diagnostic tools and supports collaborations in xenotransplantation and porcine models of human diseases. 



Academic Interests and Focus

Graduate education in mechanisms of animal health and disease, molecular biotechnology


  • CMB 8202 Mechanisms of Animal Health and Disease, course coordinator
  • CMB 8371 Mucosal Immunobiology, instructor
  • CMB 5910 Grantwriting, instructor