David Engelthaler

David Engelthaler Ph.D.

Professor and Director
Pathogen and Microbiome Division

David Engelthaler Ph.D.

David Engelthaler is the Director of the Pathogen Genomics Division at TGen North. TGen North focuses on pathogen genomics with a specific mission to advance clinical medicine, public health, and biodefense. Dave is also the Executive Director of the Southwest One Health Collaborative, Director of the TGen North Clinical Laboratory, and Co-Director of both the AZ COVID-19 Genomics Union and the TGen Integrated Microbiomics Center. Dave has overseen the rapid development of TGen’s FDA-allowed COVID-19 diagnostics tests, the creation of a federally-licensed COVID diagnostic laboratory, and the institution of the AZ COVID sequencing reference laboratory—all in support of Arizona’s public health and healthcare response. Dave is also overseeing or participating in multiple COVID research projects, from assessing the impact of COVID on HIV populations to providing testing for clinical trials of new drugs to environmental analyses.

Just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dave was overseeing research projects involving advancing our understanding of multi-drug resistant infections, development of novel genotyping techniques for genomic epidemiology and microbial forensics, fungal epidemiology and phylogenetics, and more. A major focus of this work involves adapting and advancing the use of next-generation sequencing tools for infectious disease research and healthcare. Dave also oversees the application of the above research in real-life disease outbreak investigations, both natural and human-caused. Recently, Dave led investigations involving invasive Group A Strep in the Southwest, Cryptococcosis emergence in the Pacific Northwest, a multi-state fatal fungal meningitis outbreak associated with contaminated medical products, and many other disease investigations.

Dave is leading teams that have developed revolutionary techniques to detect extremely low-level subpopulations of resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in patients. Similar approaches are being applied to develop the next generation of tests for hospitals and clinicians to rapidly identify critical multidrug resistant organisms that result in tens of thousands of deaths in the US every year. 

Prior to joining TGen, Dave was the State Epidemiologist for Arizona, where he was responsible for coordinating outbreak investigations and disease research activities statewide. From 2000 to 2005, Dave was also the Arizona Biodefense Coordinator, responsible for coordinating all state-wide activities regarding public health emergency preparedness and response, including response activities to suspect biothreat events, such as the suspicious powders that were seen following the anthrax letter attacks. He also served as statewide coordinator for Pandemic Influenza and other public health emergency response activities. Prior to 2000, Dave was a biologist for the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he conducted research on highly infectious diseases like plague and tularemia.

Dave received a Ph.D. in Biology from Northern Arizona University with a focus on genomic epidemiology, and a Master’s Degree in Microbiology from Colorado State University, where he studied host-vector-pathogen dynamics.


Rhizopus microsporus Infections Associated with Surgical Procedures, Argentina, 2006-2014
. Bowers JR, Monroy-Nieto J, Gade L, Travis J, Refojo N, Abrantes R, Santander J, French C, Dignani MC, Hevia AI, Roe CC, Lemmer D, Lockhart SR, Chiller T, Litvintseva AP, Clara L, Engelthaler DM. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 May;26(5):937-944.

Genomic Epidemiology and Forensics of Fungal Pathogens
. Engelthaler DM and Litvinseva AP. In Microbial Forensics, 3rd ed., Budowle, Schuster, Morse eds. 2020. Elsevier Press, San Diego, CA (pp. 141-154).

Minority M. tuberculosis genotypic populations as indicator of subsequent phenotypic resistance
. Engelthaler DM, Streicher EM, Kelley EJ, Allender CJ, Wiggins K, Jimenez D, Lemmer D, Vittinghoff E, Theron G, Sirgel FA, Warren RM, Metcalfe JZ.Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2019 Dec;61(6):789-791.

On the emergence of Cryptococcus gattii in the Pacific Northwest: ballast tanks, tsunamis and black swans
. Engelthaler DM, Casadevall A., MBio. 2019 Oct 1;10(5).

Genomic Analyses of Acute Flaccid Myelitis Cases Among a Potential Cluster in Arizona Provide Further Evidence of Enterovirus D68 Role. Bowers JR, Valentine M, Harrison V, Fofanov V, Gillece J, Delise JMP, Patton B, Schupp J Sheridan K, Lemmer D, Ostdiek, S, Bain HK, Heim J, Sylvester T, Prasai S, Kretschmer M, Fowle N, Komatsu K, Brady S, Robinson S, Fitzpatrick K, Ostavar GA, Alsop E, Hutchins E, Jensen K, Keim P, Engelthaler DM. mBio 2019 Jan 22;10(1). pii: e02262-18.

Phylogenetic analysis of West Nile Virus in Maricopa County, Arizona: Evidence for dynamic behavior of strains in two major lineages in the American Southwest. Hepp CM, Cocking JH, Valentine M, Young SJ, Damian D, Samuels-Crow KE, Sheridan K, Fofanov VY, Furstenau TN, Busch JD, Erickson DE, Lancione RC, Smith K, Will J, Townsend J, Keim PS, Engelthaler DM. 2018. PLoS One. 13(11): e0205801

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