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Paul A. Lawson, PhD

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Paul A. Lawson, Ph.D.

Presidential Professor of Microbiology

813 George Lynn Cross Hall
770 Van Vleet Oval
Norman, OK 73019
Lawson Lab Website

BSc. (Honors) Special Biochemistry, Royal Holloway College,
University of London, 1984.
Ph.D. London Hospital Medical College, University of London, 1993.
Postdoc, Institute of Food Research, Reading, UK, 1991-1999
Senior Research Fellow, University of Reading, UK, 1999-2005.

Research areas:
Microbiology, Environmental Science, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Anaerobic Microbiology

Research interests:
In 2005, I relocated from the University of Reading, UK where I had spent almost 15 years as a Senior Research Fellow with the world-renowned microbial taxonomist M. David Collins. My major academic achievements and research interests are in microbial systematics that contributed towards a fundamental restructuring of the genus Clostridium, and the description of a plethora of a wide range of novel taxa from human, environmental, clinical, and veterinary sources. My current interests focus on the human microbiome although I have collaborations covering many other topics. This portfolio, based in systematics and taxonomy as contributed towards a diverse publication record (>200) that includes more than 20 chapters in Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, widely regarded as the preeminent resource for microbial identification and taxonomy. I have also contributed to Biodiversity and Taxonomy of the Lactic Acid Bacteria. My 35 years of experience enables me to respond to regular requests for my opinions and assistance with taxonomic problems associated with organisms from diverse sources. Although employing molecular techniques, my students and I also focus on the traditional cultivation skills of the microbiologist. In 2011 I founded the “Center for Microbial Identification and Taxonomy”, bringing together my strengths and interest the seamless use of both traditional microbiological and molecular techniques. Only in the combination of these methods can we begin to understand the interrelationships of organisms within complex and diverse ecosystems. With the recognition that the microbiome has a tremendous influence on health and disease the understanding of the microbiology of the human gut has now gained renewed interest in taxonomy.

Relevant Publications:

Lawson, P.A., Saavedra, L., and Sankaranarayanan K. (2023). Reclassification of Clostridium cocleatum, Clostridium ramosum, Clostridium spiroforme and Clostridium saccharogumia as Thomasclavelia gen. nov. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 73.

Lawson, P.A. (2022). Chapter 18. Taxonomy of Bacteria and Archaea. In Manual of Clinical Microbiology 13th Ed. ASM Press.

Fotedar R, Sankaranarayanan K, Caldwell ME, Zeyara A, Malki AA, Kaul R., Shamari, H.A., Ali, M., Marri, M., Lawson, P.A. (2021). Reclassification of Facklamia ignava, Facklamia sourekii and Facklamia tabacinasalis as Falseniella ignava gen. nov., comb. nov., Hutsoniella sourekii gen. nov., comb. nov., and Ruoffia tabacinasalis gen. nov., comb. nov., and description of Ruoffia halotolerans sp. nov., isolated from hypersaline Inland Sea of Qatar. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 2021;114:1181–1193.

Hunter, K.C., Lawson, P.A., Dowd, S.E., and McLaughlin, R.W. (2021). Clostridium chrysemydis  sp. nov., isolated from the fecal material of a painted turtle. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 2021 Sep;71(9). doi: 10.1099/ijsem.0.005023. PMID: 34569920.

Lawson, P.A., and Rainey, F.A (2016). Proposal to restrict the genus Clostridium (Prazmowski) to Clostridium butyricum and related species. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 66: 1009-1016.

Patel, N. B., Tito, R. Y., Obregon-Tito, A. J., O'Neal, L., Trujillo-Villaroel, O., Marin-Reyes, L., Troncoso-Corzo, L., Guija-Poma, E., Lewis, C. M., Jr & Lawson, P. A. (2016). Peptoniphilus catoniae sp. nov., isolated from a human faecal sample from a traditional Peruvian coastal community. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 66, 2019–2024. 

Lawson, P. A., Citron, D. M., Tyrrell, K. L. & Finegold, S. M. (2016). Reclassification of Clostridium difficile as Clostridioides difficile (Hall and O'Toole 1935) Prévot 1938. Anaerobe 40, 95–99.

Lawson, P. A., Citron, D. M., Tyrrell, K. L. & Finegold, S. M. (2016). Reclassification of Clostridium difficile as Clostridioides difficile (Hall and O'Toole 1935) Prévot 1938. Anaerobe 40, 95–99.

Obregon-Tito, A.J., Tito, R.Y., Metcalf, J., Sankaranarayanan, K., Clemente, J.C., Ursell, L.L., Xu, Z.Z., Van Treuren, W., Knight, R., Gaffney, P.M., Spicer, P., Lawson, P., Marin-Reyes, L., Trujillo-Villarroel, O., Foster, M., Guija-Poma, E., Troncoso-Corzo, L., Warinner, C., Ozga, A.T. and Lewis, C.M. (2015). Subsistence strategies in traditional societies distinguish gut microbiomes. Nature Communications. 6, 6505.

Patel, N., Tito, R,  Obregón-Tito, A., Trujillo-Villaroel, O., O’Neal, L., Marin-Reyes, L., Troncoso-Corzo, L.,  Guija-Poma,  E., Lewis Jr. C. and  Lawson, P.A. (2015).  Ezakiella puruensis gen. nov., sp. nov. isolated from feces from a hunter-gatherer community in Peru. Anaerobe. 32: 43-48.