Richard’s Biographical Sketch

NAME: Richard B. Meagher

POSITION TITLE: Distinguished Research Professor, Emeritus, University of Georgia, Genetics Department




(if applicable)

Completion Date MM/YYYY


University of Illinois, Champaign, IL

B.S. with Honors & Honors Thesis


Molecular Virology & Immunology with Dr. Roderick McLeod.

Yale University, New Haven, CT

M. Phil.


Microbiology & Biochemistry with Dr. L. Nicholas Ornston

Yale University, New Haven, CT



Enzymology, Protein Chemistry & Evolution with Dr. L. Nicholas Ornston

U.C. Berkeley, Berkeley, CA



Genetics, carcinogenesis & mutagenesis with Dr. Bruce Ames

U.C. San Francisco Med. Center, San Francisco, CA



Recombinant DNA and gene expression with Drs. Howard Goodman and Herbert Boyer


A. Personal Statement

My original Ph.D., M.Phil., and postdoctoral training were in bacteriology, genetics, biochemistry, and protein chemistry with outstanding mentors at Yale, U.C. Berkeley, and UC San Francisco medical center. I have authored or co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts and including 12 U.S. patents. My Hirsch Index, a measure of the past and current frequency of citation of my research publications, is 73, suggesting a sustained, durable, and well-respected academic performance. In 2020 I was elected as a member of the National Academy of Inventors, which recognized my inventions in the field of biotechnology and my mentoring of young scientist in inventorship.

I have published in the fields of biochemistry, enzymology, protein chemistry, immunology, cell biology, microbiology, genetics, epigenetics, metabolism, electrochemistry, and anti-infective drug delivery, and many of my papers have been in highly ranked journals in these fields including J. Biol., Chem., Cell, PNAS, Nature, Methods in Enzymology, Plant Cell, Plant J., Plant Phys., Dev. Neurobiology, Genetics, mSphere, mBio, Epigenetics and Chromatin, Fungal Biology, and PLoSPath. These various manuscripts have examined organisms from all four eukaryotic kingdoms and eubacteria and archaea. I have trained young students in most of these fields and seven of my former students and postdocs were academic department heads in the last two decades. I have a history of working out complex biotechnical problems in different fields of biology and published five papers in Nature Biotechnology. I have initiated projects in several emerging fields of biology and successfully switched fields five times to keep my interest in science fresh and intense and to maintain funding for experimental research. I am one of a few founders of modern molecular genetics having first authored a 1977 Cell paper on the first cloning and expression of plant and insect genes in bacteria. This rivaled the cloning and expression of human somatostatin and insulin genes the same year. I am one of two co-founders of the field of phytoremediation publishing the first papers (1996) describing plants engineered to detoxify heavy metal pollutants, mercury and arsenic. I was an early leader in applying quantitative evolutionary approaches to understanding the origin of multigene families and dating their lineages (1986 to 2009). In the early 1980s, I began to publish in the area of epigenetics, epigenome induced pathologies, and translational epigenetics. This led to re-focusing my entire lab on the difficult problems associated with performing cell-type-specific translational studies on leukocytes, neurons, and adipocytes in order to study obesity and various cell types in leaves (Yu et al., 2014). In particular, my group recently developed (1) fluorescence activated nuclear sorting (FANS) and fluorescent nuclear cytometry (FNC) for brain and adipose tissue, (2) fluorescently tagged adipocyte cell lines to monitor adipogenesis, and (3) a Mature Adipocyte MA–INTACT (Isolation of Nuclei TAgged in specific Cell Types) mouse (Ambati et al., 2016) in which mature adipocyte nuclei and various leaf cell types are tagged for affinity purification. My publications (Sijacic et al., 2018, Ambati et al., 2016) are both among the first three showing an INTACT system functioning in animals or plants. I have recently published three manuscripts worked on the impact of airways therapy on the inflammatory cytokine levels in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. I published and patented new rapid methods involving engineered cell lines and engineered mice to accelerate monoclonal antibody production that avoided laborious limiting dilution cell cloning methods. Nearly 100 of my manuscripts use antibodies as protein targeting tools to elevate the level of my research, as I do now with the C-type lectin pathogen receptors like the Dectins and DC-SIGN. In 2018 I re-focused most of my experimental efforts on the design of a novel reagent for targeted delivery of anti-infective drugs packaged in liposomes, called DectiSomes, wherein the liposomes binding directly to pathogens. This has resulted in 5 outstanding peer review publications and 2 provisional patents. In 2011, I began to return to the bench to perform many of my own experiments working collaboratively with a full time Senior Research Scientist in my lab. In June, 2017 after 41 years in the Genetics Department at UGA, I became a Professor Emeritus, which at UGA means I was allowed me to keep a downsized laboratory and devote even more time to laboratory research and one-on-one postdoc and graduate student training and less time to classroom teaching and committee work.

Ongoing and recently completed NIH funded projects that I would like to highlight include:

For all my publications – 1972 to the present see:

Google Scholar

My NCBI Bibliography

Very Recent Publications- 2019 to 2022

B. Positions, Scientific Appointments, and Honors

List in chronological order previous positions, concluding with the present position. List any honors. Include present membership on any Federal Government public advisory committee.

B1. Positions

  • 1969-1971 M. Phil. student in the laboratory of L. Nicholas Ornston at Yale University, Enzymology, Peptide Chemistry, Aromatic metabolism, Biochemical evolution.
  • 1971-1973 Ph. D. student in the laboratory of L. Nicholas Ornston at Yale University, Protein chemistry, Gene and protein evolution.
  • 1973-1974 NCI Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Bruce Ames at University of California, Berkeley (Protein chemistry, Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis The Ames’ Test).
  • 1974-1976 NIH Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California San Francisco, in the laboratories of Herbert Boyer and Howard Goodman, Cloning and expression of plant and fly DNA.
  • 1976-1980 Assistant Professor of Microbiology & Botany, Program of Genetics, University of Georgia
  • 1980-1983 Assistant Professor of Genetics, University of Georgia
  • 1983-1988 Associate Professor of Genetics, University of Georgia
  • 1987-1995 Co-Founder & Director University’s “Molecular Genetics Instrumentation Facility”
  • 1985-1989 Co-Founder & Co-Director to the University’s “Biological Scientists Computational Resource”
  • 1988-2006 Professor of Genetics, University of Georgia
  • 1995-1998 Genetics Department Head, University of Georgia
  • 2003-2018 Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Abeome Corporation (Athens, GA)
  • 2015-2018 Board Member, Obesity Initiative Executive Committee, for the Vice President for Research
  • 2006-present Distinguished Research Professor, Genetics Department, University of Georgia
  • 2017-present Professor Emeritus, Genetics and Distinguished Research Professor

B2. Honors (selected)

  • 1969-1972 NIH Pre-doctoral Fellow in Genetics
  • 1973-1974 American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow
  • 1974-1976 NIH Postdoctoral Research Scholar
  • 1981 S. News & World Report featured as one of U.S.A.’s “Super achievers”
  • 1987 University of Georgia “Creative Research Award”
  • 2001 University of Georgia “Lamar Dodd Creative Research Award”
  • 2004 University of Georgia “Inventor’s Award” for patents, contributions to the business community
  • 2004 Esquire Magazine’s “America’s Best and Brightest” visionaries, rebels, & leaders
  • 2005 Elected a Fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • 2007 Research featured on PBS, BBC, & a National Geographic Special “Strange Days on Planet Earth”
  • 2017 University of Georgia ”Academic Entrepreneur of the Year Award.”
  • 2020 Elected to the National Academy of Inventors (NAI)

B3. Government Service on Grant Panels

  • 1991-1992 USDA Competitive Grants “Plant Genome” Panel Manager
  • 1992-1996 Member of NIH “Molecular Biology” Study Section Panel
  • 1995-1997 Member of NIH “Molecular Cell Biology” Study Section
  • 1999-2001 Member of U.S. Department of Energy’s “Environmental Mgt. Science Program Review Panel.
  • 2003-2004 Member NIH Postdoctoral Fellows “Cell Biology” Study Section
  • 2001-2006 Ad Hoc Member of NIH “Molecular Cell Biology” Study Section
  • 2005 Member NIH “Cell Structure and Function” Study Section
  • 2005 Ad hoc Reviewer for the USDA’s SBIR Phase II Plant Production and Protection Program
  • 2011 NIH Reviewer for K99 awards
  • 1991-2017 Outside reviewer for numerous grants for USDA, NSF, DOE and NIH

B4. Memberships

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  • National Academy of Inventors (NAI)

B5. Consultant to industry

  • 1976-2000 Biotechnology consultant to various chemical and agricultural companies including Monsanto, Dow, American Cyanamid (now American Home Products, Corp.), General Mills, Bayer, BASF, and DuPont and Investment organizations such as The Chicago Group.
  • 2002-2018 Molecular immunology consultant to Abeome, Corp.
  • 2012-present Biotechnology consultant to Rotam Crop Sciences Ltd., Rotam Trait Development, Corp. and Cibus, Corp.