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Dr. Matthew Becker

Professor of Biology

(434) 582-7627
Center for Natural Sciences, Room 344


  • Ph.D., Virginia Tech
  • M.S., James Madison University
  • B.S., University of Mary Washington


After earning his B.S. in Biology, Dr. Becker earned his M.S. from James Madison University and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech, where he completed research in amphibian conservation and microbial ecology.  Dr. Becker continued this line of research as a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, where he conducted studies to further conservation efforts for the critically endangered Panamanian Golden Frog.

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 203 – Introductory Microbiology Lab
  • BIOL 224 – General Biology I Lab
  • BIOL 303 – Microbiology
  • BIOL 400 – biology Seminar (Special Topic: Zoo & Wildlife Diseases)
  • BIOL 410 – Environmental Biology


  • Walke JB, Becker MH, Hughey MC, Swartwout MC, Jensen RV, Belden LK. 2017. Dominance-function relationships in the amphibian skin microbiome. Environmental Microbiology doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13850
  • Becker MH, Gratwicke B. 2017. Minimum lethal concentration of sodium hypochlorite for the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. PLoS One 12(4): e0176439
  • Medina D, Hughey MC, Becker MH, Walke JB, Umile TP, Burzynski EA, Iannetta A, Minbiole KPC, Belden LK. 2017. Variation in metabolite profiles of amphibian skin bacterial communities across elevations in the Neotropics. Microbial Ecology doi: 10.1007/s00248-017-0933-y
  • Escallón C, Becker MH, Walke JB, Jensen RV, Cormier G, Belden LK, Moore IT. 2016. Testosterone levels are positively correlated with cloacal bacterial diversity and the relative abundance of Chlamydiae in breeding male rufous?collared sparrows. Functional Ecology doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12696
  • Hughey MC, Walke JB, Becker MH, Umile TP, Burzynski EA, Minbiole KPC, Lannetta AA, Santiago CN, Hopkins WA, Belden LK. 2016. Short-term exposure to coal combustion waste has little impact on the skin microbiome of adult spring peepers, Pseudacris crucifer. Applied and Environmental Microbiology doi: 10.1128/AEM.00045-16.
  • Rebollar EA, Antwis RE, Becker MH, Belden LK, Bletz MC, Brucker RM, Harrison XA, Hughey MC, Kueneman JG, Loudon AH, McKenzie V, Medina D, Minbiole KPC, Rollins-Smith LA, Walke JB, Weiss S, Woodhams DC, Harris RN. 2016. Using “omics” and integrated multi-omics approaches to guide probiotic selection to mitigate chytridiomycosis and other emerging infectious diseases. Frontiers in Microbiology 7:68.
  • Becker MH, Walke JB, Cikanek S, Savage AE, Mattheus N, Santiago CN, Minbiole KPC, Harris RN, Belden LK, Gratwicke B. 2015. Composition of symbiotic bacteria predicts survival in Panamanian golden frogs infected with a lethal fungus. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282:20142881.
  • Becker MH, Walke JB, Murrill L, Woodhams DC, Reinert LK, Rollins-Smith LA, Burzynski EA, Umile TP, Minbiole KPC, Belden LK. 2015. Phylogenetic distribution of symbiotic bacteria from Panamanian amphibians that inhibit growth of the lethal fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Molecular Ecology 24:1628-1641.
  • Walke JB, Becker MH, Hughey MC, Swartwout MC, Jensen RV, Belden LK. 2015. Most of the dominant members of amphibian skin bacterial communities can be readily cultured. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 81:6589-6600.
  • Walke JB, Becker MH, Loftus SC, House LL, Teotonio TL, Minbiole KPC, Belden LK. 2015. Community structure and function of amphibian skin microbes: an experiment with bullfrogs exposed to a chytrid fungus. PLoS One 10:e0139848.
  • Belden LK, Hughey MC, Rebollar EA, Umile TP, Loftus SC, Burzynski EA, Minbiole KPC, House LL, Jensen RV, Becker MH, Walke JB, Medina D, Ibáñez R, Harris RN. 2015. Panamanian frog species host unique skin bacterial communities. Frontiers in Microbiology 6:1171.
  • Woodhams DC, Alford R, Antwis RE, Archer H, Becker MH, Belden LK, Bell SC, Bletz M, Daskin JH, Davis LA, Flechas SV, Lauer A, Peña AG, Harris RN, Holden WM, Hughey MC, Ibañez R, Knight R, Kueneman J, Rabemanajara F, Reinert LK, Rollins-Smith LA, Roman-Rodriguez F, Shaw SD, Walke JB, McKenzie V. 2015. Antifungal isolates database of amphibian skin-associated bacteria and function against emerging fungal pathogens. Ecology 96:595.
  • Becker MH, Richards-Zawacki CL, Gratwicke B, Belden LK. 2014. The effect of captivity on the cutaneous bacterial community of the critically endangered Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki). Biological Conservation 176:199-206.
  • Hughey MC, Becker MH, Walke JB, Swartwout MC, Belden LK. 2014. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Virginia amphibians: within and among site variation in infection. Herpetological Review 45:428-438.
  • Walke JB, Becker MH, Loftus SC, House LL, Cormier G, Jensen RV, Belden LK. 2014. Amphibian skin may select for rare environmental microbes. The ISME Journal 8:2207-2217.
  • Bletz MC, Loudon AH, Becker MH, Bell SC, Woodhams DC, Minbiole KPC, Harris RN. 2013. Mitigating amphibian chytridiomycosis with bioaugmentation: characteristics of effective probiotics and strategies for their selection and use. Ecology Letters 16:807-820.
  • Becker MH, Harris RN, Minbiole KPC, Schwantes CR, Rollins-Smith LA, Reinert LK, Brucker RM, Domangue RJ, Gratwicke B. 2011. Towards a better understanding of the use of probiotics for preventing chytridiomycosis in Panamanian golden frogs. EcoHealth 8:501-506.
  • Becker MH, Harris RN. 2010. Cutaneous bacteria of the redback salamander prevent morbidity associated with a lethal disease. PLoS One 5:e10957.
  • Becker MH, Brucker RM, Schwantes CR, Harris RN, Minbiole KPC.  2009. The bacterially-produced metabolite violacein is associated with survival in amphibians infected with a lethal disease. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 75:6635-6638.
  • Harris RN, Brucker RM, Walke JB, Becker MH, Woodhams DC, Schwantes CR, Flaherty DC, Minbiole KPC. 2009. Skin microbes on frogs prevent morbidity and mortality caused by a lethal skin fungus. The ISME Journal 3:818-824.
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