Dante Ricci

Contact information

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
7000 East Avenue, L-452
Livermore, CA 94550
email: ricci5@llnl.gov



I am a molecular geneticist and microbial engineer with experience in antimicrobial discovery and functional microbiology spanning multiple sectors.  I cut my teeth on Gram-negative cell envelope biogenesis, and in the process acquired a deep appreciation for the power and elegance of bacterial genetics. I am broadly interested in co-opting genetic and genomic innovations for both basic and applied purposes, particularly for the discovery of novel antimicrobials and related biotherapeutics.

Following postdoctoral training in bacterial systems biology, I joined the clinical stage biotech company Achaogen, where I led a cross-functional team of passionate scientists devoted to the isolation of antibacterial human antibodies intended for the prevention of neonatal sepsis in the developing world in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

On the heels of Achaogen's untimely demise, I joined the microbiome-focused startup Federation Bio, where as head of Discovery Biology I led efforts to discover and develop robust communities of commensal microbes to address areas of high unmet medical need.

My work at LLNL spans basic and applied biology, with a current focus on biosecurity, predictive biology, microbial engineering for novel bioproduct discovery, and development of high-impact platforms for rapid discovery of anti-infectives.




Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Princeton University, 2012

NIH/NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine, 2013-2016


Recent publications

  1. Ricci DP and Silhavy TJ (2019). Outer membrane protein insertion by the β-barrel assembly machine. Protein Secretion in Bacteria (Book Chapter). EcoSal Plus. 2019 Mar;8(2). doi:10.1128/ecosalplus.ESP-0035-2018.

  2. Konovalova A, Grabowicz M, Balibar CJ, Malinverni JC, Painter RE, Riley D, Mann PA, Wang H, Garlisi CG, Sherborne B, Rigel NW, Ricci DP, Black TA, Roemer T, Silhavy TJ, and Walker SS (2018). Inhibitor of intramembrane protease RseP blocks the σE response causing lethal accumulation of unfolded outer membrane proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Jul 10;115(28):E6614-E6621.

  3. Crittenden CM, Herrera CM, Williams PE, Ricci DP, Swem LR, Trent MS, and Brodbelt JS (2018). Mapping phosphate modifications of substituted lipid A via a targeted MS3 CID/UVPD strategy. Analyst. Jun 25;143(13):3091-3099.

  4. McCabe AL, Ricci D, Adetunji M, Silhavy TJ (2017). Conformational Changes That Coordinate the Activity of BamA and BamD Allowing β-Barrel Assembly. Journal of Bacteriology. Sep 19;199(20).

  5. Ricci, DP*, Melfi, MD*, Lasker, K, Dill D, McAdams, HH, and Shapiro, L (2016). Cell cycleprogression in Caulobacter requires a nucleoid-associated protein with high AT sequence recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Oct 4;113(40):E5952-E5961.

  6. Mahoney TF, Ricci DP, and Silhavy TJ (2016). Classifying β-Barrel Assembly Substrates by Manipulating Essential Bam Complex Members. Journal of Bacteriology. Jun 27;198(14):1984-92.

  7. Soltes, GR, Schwalm, JA, Ricci, DP, and Silhavy, TJ (2016). The activity of Escherichia coli SurA is regulated by conformational changes involving a parvulin domain. Journal of Bacteriology. Jan 4;198(6):921-9.

  8. Ricci, DP (2015). Construction and characterization of an E. coli bamD depletion strain. Methods in Molecular Biology. Dec 1329:227-43.

  9. Yung MC, Park DM, Overton KW, Blow MJ, Hoover CA, Smit J, Murray SR, Ricci DP, Christen B, Bowman GR, and Jiao Y (2015). Tn-seq of Caulobacter crescentus under uranium stress reveals genes essential for detoxification and stress tolerance. Journal of Bacteriology. Oct;197(19):3160-72.

  10. Koyuncu E, Budayeva HG, Miteva YV, Ricci DP, Silhavy TJ, Shenk T, and Cristea IM (2014). Sirtuins are evolutionarily conserved viral restriction factors. mBio. Dec 16;5(6).

  11. Ricci, DP, Schwalm, JA, Gonzales-Cope, M, and Silhavy, TJ (2013). The activity of the periplasmic chaperone SurA is modulated by a proline isomerase domain. mBio. Aug 13;4(4).

  12. Dwyer, RS, Ricci, DP, Colwell, LJ, Silhavy, TJ, and Wingreen, NS (2013). Predicting functionally informative mutations in Escherichia coli BamA using evolutionary covariance analysis. Genetics. Oct;195(2):443-55.

  13. Rigel, NW*, Ricci, DP*, and Silhavy, TJ (2013). Conformation-specific labeling of BamA and suppressor analysis suggest a cyclic mechanism for β-barrel assembly in Escherichia coli. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Mar 26;110(13):5151-6.

  14. Ricci, DP, Hagan, CL, Kahne, D, and Silhavy, TJ (2012). Activation of the E. coli β-barrel assembly machine (Bam) is required for essential components to properly interact with substrate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Feb 28;109(9):3487-91.

  15. Rigel, NW, Schwalm, JA, Ricci, DP, and Silhavy, TJ (2012). BamE modulates the Escherichia coli beta-barrel assembly component BamA. Journal of Bacteriology. Mar;194(5):1002-8.

  16. Ricci, DP and Silhavy, TJ (2011). The Bam machine: a molecular cooper. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. Apr;1818(4):1067-84.

  17. Kim, UK*, Wooding, S*, Ricci, D, Jorde, LB, and Drayna, D (2005). Worldwide haplotype diversity and coding sequence variation at human bitter taste receptor loci. Human Mutation. 26(3):199-204.

    *denotes equal contribution



  1. Ricci, DP, Patel A (2018). Reporter microorganisms and uses thereof. US WO2018140827A1 filed January 26, 2018. Patent Pending.

  2. Swem, LR, Cirz, RT, Schwartz M, Bender K, Wu S, Findeisen F, Kannuswamy M, Ricci DP, Patel A (2017). Screening methods for identifying antibodies that bind cell surface epitopes. USWO2017132627A2 filed January 27, 2017. Patent Pending.