Marjorie M. (Kelly) Cowan

Professor Emerita of Microbiology

Phone: (513) 305-2248


Ph.D., University of Louisville, 1987

Academic Interests:
(Note: instructional faculty - not accepting graduate students)

Kelly has been a faculty member in the microbiology department of Miami University since 1993. While at Miami, Dr. Cowan has published several book chapters, a major review article, and two dozen research articles stemming from her work on bacterial adhesion mechanisms and plant-derived antimicrobial compounds. Her anti-adhesion research has been externally funded and is the subject of two patents.

Kelly is also an avid teacher and pedagogical researcher. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of College Science Teaching, the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching and The Teaching Professor. She is the recipient of a Celebration of Teaching Award sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities.

She is former past chair of the Undergraduate Education Committee of the American Society for Microbiology and past chair of ASM's Division W. She has also served as president of the Ohio Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. From 2003-2005 she served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of Miami University Middletown; and was the campus Dean from 2005-2009.

Her McGraw-Hill textbook, Microbiology: A Systems Approach is in its fifth edition. She is also the author of Microbe Files: Case Studies for the Undergraduate (Pearson). Her third textbook, Fundamentals of Microbiology: A Clinical Approach, is in its second edition.

After stepping down as dean, Kelly created the Miami University Middletown Community Building Institute (CBI), an independently funded organization that helps create strong neighborhoods and supports under-resourced citizens from pre-school to career in Middletown. CBI currently spends over $1 million serving Middletown’s needs.

Selected Publications

  • Rendle, P.M., A. Seger, J. Rodrigues, N.J. Oldham, R.R. Bott, J.B. Jones, M.M. Cowan, B.G. Davis. 2004. Glycodendriproteins: A synthetic glycoprotein mimic enzyme with branched sugar-display potently inhibits bacterial aggregation. J. Am. Chem. Soc.126: 4750-4751.

    This paper was chosen as one of the most significant research stories of 2004 by Chemical and Engineering News

  • Budu, C.E., J. Luengpailin, M.M. Cowan and R.J. Doyle. 2003. Virulence factors of Porphyromonas gingivalis are modified by polyphenol oxidase and asparaginase. Oral Microbiol. Immunol. 18:313-317.
  • Cowan, M.M., K. Abshire, S.L. Houk, S.N. Evans. 2003. Antimicrobial efficacy of a silver-zeolite matrix coating on stainless steel. J. Industrial Microbiol. Biotechnol. 30:102-106.


Microbiology: A Systems Approach, 5th EditionCowan, M.M.
Microbiology: A Systems Approach. 6th Edition,
2020. McGraw-Hill.

The Microbe FilesCowan, M.M.
The Microbe Files: Case Studies in Microbiology for the Undergraduate.
2002. Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco, CA.

Microbiology Fundamentals: A Clinical ApproachCowan, M.M.
Microbiology Fundamentals: A Clinical Approach. 4th Edition
2021. McGraw-Hill.

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