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Associate Dean

University of Central Oklahoma (405) 974-5735 College of Mathematics & Science HOH 200H , Box 89


Bob Brennan, Jr, Ph.D., currently is a professor and chair of the Biology Department. He was born and raised in Emmetsburg, Iowa, which is a small farming community in northwest Iowa. Brennan is one of five children. His father was a carpenter and his mother worked as a nurse at the county hospital. He attended the University of South Dakota where he played football and received a B.S. in Biology. He earned his M.S. in Veterinary Medical Sciences (Microbiology) from Louisiana State University and Ph.D. in Medical Sciences (Microbiology) from Texas A&M Health Sciences Center.  Prior to coming to UCO in 2009, Brennan worked at 3M as a Microbiology Specialist in their Medical Division. His wife Martha is the Director of Track and Field at UCO. They have four daughters; Grace, Eve, Ivy, and Bella. 

Education and Certifications

B.S. University of South Dakota
M.S. Louisiana State University
Ph.D. Texas A&M University (HSC)


2018 University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK., Professor and Chair, Department of Biology

2017-2018 University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Biology

2015-2017 University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK., Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Biology

2013-2015 University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK., Associate Professor and Assistant Chair, Department of Biology

2009-2013 University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK., Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

2007-2009 Chippewa Valley Technical College, River Falls, WI., Adjunct Lecturer, Life Sciences Department

2005-2009 3M Corporation, Medical Division, St. Paul, MN., Microbiology Research Specialist, Diagnostics Department

2004-2005 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of  Microbiology

1997-1999 Texas A&M University, College Station, TX., Research Associate, Department of Animal Science

1996 Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Teaching Assistant, Veterinary Medicine

1993-1997 Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA., Research Associate, Department of Veterinary Science

Classes Taught

BIO 1114 General Biology

BIO 1211 University Life Sciences Lab

BIO 1204 Biology for Majors: Principles

BIO 3054 Microbiology for Majors and Laboratory

BIO 4515/5515 Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology and Laboratory


The primary focus of my lab is to investigate microbial pathogenesis. One of the main projects is to study the role of Staphylococcus aureus biofilms in chronic wound pathogenesis. Each year millions of people are afflicted with chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers, and venous leg ulcers, which in part, contribute to a considerable amount of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. annually. The inability of these wounds to heal has now been associated with the presence of microbial biofilms. Recent work in the lab indicates that products secreted by Staphylococcus aureus biofilms play a direct role in the prolonged inflammation and lack of re-epithelialization of chronic wounds (Journal of Inflammation, 2014, 11:17 DOI: 10.1186/1476-9255-11-17). My laboratory will now work to identify the products in Staphylococcus aureus biofilm secretions that promote chronic inflammation and lack of re-epithelialization, as well as understanding the role of nitric oxide in chronic wound pathogenesis in a cell culture model. We are also studying the pathogenesis of Coxiella burnetii, which are intracellular bacteria that cause an acute flu-like illness as well as chronic endocarditis and recently published work to clone and characterize a Coxiella burnetii enzyme believed to be important for the ability of this organism to cause disease (BMC Microbiology, 2015, 15:99 DOI: 10.1186/s12866-015-0430-8.). Students in my lab have also been involved with the investigation of possible exposure of Oklahoma bats to White-Nose Syndrome, which is a fungal infection (Southwest Naturalist. 60(2-3):145-150). During the past four years, I have had twelve students involved in research, scholarly, and creative activities, which have led to four peer reviewed publications, one manuscript in review, and two others in preparation.  These students have also presented 15 poster and oral presentations at local and national meetings. Of these twelve students, two have started pursuing graduate degrees in biological sciences, one is currently applying to graduate school, six are in professional programs, and the other three students are still currently working in my lab. As principal investigator, I have received more than $100K from university, state, and corporate agencies to support my research. I have also been recognized as an outstanding educator by receiving the University of Central Oklahoma College of Math and Science Vanderford Distinguished Teacher Award in 2015.

Research, Published Work, and Scholarly Activities

Student names are in italics

  1. Mariah M. Small, Sean M. Laverty, Chad B. King and Robert E. Brennan. Tick species establishment in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, U.S.A., identified by seasonal sampling in residential and non-residential sites. 2019. J. Vector Ecol. 44 (1): 105-111. doi.10.111/jvec.12334.
  2. Baalman, R., Y. Shang, J.R.  Johnston, M. Fakhr, and R.E. Brennan.  Nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in students at the University of Central Oklahoma. 2018. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 98:118-126.
  3. Matthew Nichols, Wayne Lord, Michelle Haynie, Robert Brennan, Victoria Jackson, and Wendy Monterroso. 2018. First Report of Trypanosoma cruzi in a Mexican Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) in Oklahoma. J Wildl Dis. 2018. doi:10.7589/2018-04-095.
  4. Amy G. Briggs, Robert E. Brennan, Nancy Boury, John Buchner, Rachel Horak, Lee E. Hughes, Sue Katz-Amburn, Maria J. Massimelli, Ann McDonald, Todd P. Primm, Ann C. Smith, Ann M. Stevens, Sunny. B. Yung, and Timothy D. Paustian. Development, Validation and Application of the Microbiology Concept Inventory. 2017.  JMBE. 18(3).doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i3.1320
  5. Amy G. Briggs, Lee E. Hughes, Robert Brennan, John Buchner, Rachel Horak, Sue Katz Amburn, Ann McDonald, Todd P Primm, Ann C. Smith, Ann M. Stevens, Sunny Yung, Timothy Paustian.  Concept Inventory Development Reveals Common Student Misconceptions about Microbiology. 2017. JMBE. 18(3). doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i3.1319
  6. Bragg A., M. Braden, K. Ceasar, A. Coleman, P. Drevets, J. Fleming, Q. Gorges, J. Herwig, A. Khabbab, J. Proffer, S. Ramsey, E. Shackelford, V. Smith, C. Smith, B. Yuill, and R.E. Brennan. Impact of hand washing instructions on hand washing practices at the University of Central Oklahoma. 2016. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 96:109-114.
  7. Brennan R.E., W. Caire, N. Pugh, S. Chapman, A.H. Robbins, and D. Akiyoshi. Examination of Bats in Western Oklahoma for Antibodies against Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causative Agent of White-Nose Syndrome. 2015. Southwest Naturalist. 60(2-3):145-150.
  8. Brennan R.E., K. Kiss, R. Baalman, and J.E. Samuel. Cloning, Expression, and Characterization of a Coxiella burnetii Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase. 2015. BMC Microbiology. 15(99). doi:10.1186/s12866-015-0430-8.
  9. Tankersley, A., M.B. Frank, M. Bebak, and R. Brennan. Early effects of Staphylococcus aureus biofilm secreted products on inflammatory responses of human epithelial keratinocytes. 2014. Journal of Inflammation. 11(17).doi:10.1186/1476-9255-11-17.
  10. Brennan, R.E. and S. Everman. Antibiotic resistance of Escherichia coli isolated from a stream near two wastewater treatment facilities in Edmond, Oklahoma. 2012. Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 92:59-64.
  11. Hyland, K., R. Brennan, S. Olmstead, E. Rojas, E. Murphy, C. Herst, B. Wang, and P. Cleary.  The Early Interferon Response of Nasal Associated Lymphoid Tissue to Streptococcal Infection. 2009. FEMS Immunol. Med. Microbiol. 55:422-431.
  12. Brennan, R. E., K. Russell, G. Q. Zhang, and J. E. Samuel.  Both iNOS and NADPH oxidase contribute to control of virulent phase I Coxiella burnetii infections.  2004. Infect. Immun. 72:6666-6675.
  13. Brennan, R. E. and J. E. Samuel.  Evaluation of Coxiella burnetii antibiotics susceptibilities by Real-Time PCR Assay. 2003.  J. Clin. Microbiol. 41:1869-1874.
  14. Lopez-Gonzalez, V., P. S. Murano, R. E. Brennan, and E. A. Murano.  Sensory evaluation of ground beef patties irradiated by gamma rays versus electron beam under various packaging conditions.  2000.  Journal of Food Quality.  23:195-204.
  15. Murano, E. A., P.S. Murano, R. E. Brennan, K. Shenoy, and R.G. Moreira. Application of high hydrostatic pressure to eliminate Listeria monocytogenes from fresh pork sausage. 1999. Journal of Food Protection. 62: 5:480-483.
  16. Lopez-Gonzalez, V., P. S. Murano, R. E. Brennan, and E. A. Murano. Influence of various commercial packaging conditions on survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to irradiation by electron beam versus gamma rays. 1999. Journal of Food Protection. 62: 1:10-15.
  17. Brennan, R. E., R.E. Corstvet, and D.B. Paulson. Antibody responses to Pasteurella haemolytica 1:A and three of its outer membrane proteins in serum, nasal secretions, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from calves. 1998. AJVR. 59: 6:727-732.
  18. Brennan, R. E., R. E. Corstvet, and J. W. McBride. A simplified method for isolating outer membrane proteins from Pasteurella haemolytica A1. 1997. J. Micro. Methods. 29:201-206.
  19. McBride, J. W., R. E. Corstvet, M. A. Dietrich, C. M. Berry, R. E. Brennan, B. C. Taylor, J. L. Stott, and B. I. Osburn. Memory and CD8+ are the predominant bovine bronchoalveolar lymphocyte phenotypes. 1997. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. 58:55-62.
  20. Dawson, J. E., C. K. Warner, S. A. Ewing, S. R. Telford, R. E. Corstvet, R. E. Brennan, and J. G. Olson.  Fingerprinting of Ehrlichia species by repetitive element polymerase chain reaction. 1997.  Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 57: 1:109-114.
  21. Gaunt, S. D., R. E. Corstvet, C. M. Berry, and R. E. Brennan. Isolation of Ehrlichia canis from dogs following subcutaneous inoculation. 1994. J. Clin. Micro. 34:1429-1432.

Professional and Community Involvement

Professional Societies

American Society for Microbiology              

American Society for Rickettsiology

Oklahoma Academy of Sciences

Sigma Xi

Honors and Awards

2014                University of Central Oklahoma College of Math and Science Vanderford Distinguished Teacher Award

2013                Teaching Merit Award, UCO

2012,2014       MERLOT House Cup

2009                Genesis Grant, 3M

2008                3M Circle of Technical Excellence and Innovation award

2005                NPA travel grant, National Postdoctoral Association

2004                ASM Corporate Activities student travel grant                     

2003                NIH Predoctoral Fellowship, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center

1994                Research associate of the year, Department of Veterinary Science, Louisiana State University

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