Jacqueline Piret

Jacqueline PiretAssociate Professor and Associate Head Advisor
Molecular Microbiology

Department of Biology
Northeastern University
413 Mugar Life Sciences
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115 

Academic Education

  • Ph.D., Microbiology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • B.S., Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin – Madison


  • Molecular Track Advisor, PSM-Biotechnology Degree Program (2004-present)
  • Biology Undergraduate Advising Group (1990-present)
  • Faculty, Department of Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts (1985-present)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Microbiology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland (1984-1985)
  • Cetus Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics, John Innes Institute, Norwich, U.K. (1982-1984)

Research Interests

My research centered for a number of years on the industrially-important antibiotic-producing bacteria Streptomyces. We investigated genes controlling antibiotic synthesis and morphological development (sporulation) in Streptomyces clavuligerus and Streptomyces coelicolor.

Recently we have moved in a new direction to study marine bacterial viruses. There are estimated to be about 1030 bacteriophages in the earth’s oceans, making important contributions to global carbon and nitrogen cycles as well as to bacterial diversity. Yet their biology is poorly understood. We are conducting some of the first studies of marine phage structural assembly, characterizing cyanophage Syn5 that infects the abundant open ocean oxygenic cyanobacterium Synechococcus WH8109.

Teaching Activities

I teach a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in Microbiology and Molecular Biology, such as General Microbiology for majors, Basic Microbiology for health science students, and Biochemical/Molecular Biology Experimental Approaches, an advanced intensive laboratory course for advanced students.

I frequently teach non-technical courses as well, such as Biology/Biochemistry at Northeastern that seeks to assist our freshmen in adapting to university life, and Biology Capstone that recapitulates the experiential education of students nearing graduation.