Jonathan Steckbeck, MBA, PhD

Dr. Jonathan Steckbeck



PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, 2012

MBA in Business Strategy, University of Pittsburgh, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, 2003

BS in Microbiology, Pennsylvania State University, 1999

Research Summary

My interests are in the design and testing of synthetic engineered antimicrobial peptides for use as next-generation antibiotics. Additionally, I am working to commercialize current antimicrobial peptides developed by Dr. Montelaro, assisting in licensing the technology as well as exploring options for a startup company.


Ronald C. Montelaro, PhD


Areas of Interest

Antimicrobial peptide design and testing; lipid-protein interactions

Why I Chose Pitt

I chose the University of Pittsburgh to pursue my PhD studies because of the breadth of faculty interests and their generally collaborative mindset. Scientific progress has increasingly moved further from highly-focused, discipline-specific research to a current state where some of the most interesting and high impact work occurs during cross-discipline collaborations, or at the intersection where emerging fields meet traditional, established disciplines. The Interdisciplinary Program immerses students in that atmosphere immediately and provides you with an early sense of the interconnectedness of biomedical research. Knowledge of that perspective combined with the freedom provided by the graduate program allows you to hone your interests and focus your research to take maximum advantage of the facilities and faculty during the course of your tenure as a PhD student.

Following completion of his PhD, Jonathan accepted a Postdoctoral Associate position in the lab of his mentor, Dr. Ronald C. Montelaro, to continue working on his research.

I chose to stay at the University of Pittsburgh specifically to work on the novel antimicrobial peptides developed by Dr. Montelaro, particularly the opportunities of developing new peptides as well as working towards advancing the technology to its commercial potential. These peptides are unique in their demonstrated ability to work in complex biological environments, which has been a major obstacle in advancing antimicrobial peptides as a class towards clinical applications. Pittsburgh is in the early stages of an economic revolution from its days as a steel town to a city focused on the industries of healthcare, education, and technology. I think this is a great time to be living, and working, in Pittsburgh.


Steckbeck, J. D; Craigo, J. K; Barnes, C. O; and Montelaro, R. C. (2011) Highly conserved structural properties of the C-terminal tail of HIV-1 gp41 protein despite substantial sequence variation among diverse clades: implications for functions in viral replication. J. Biol. Chem. 286: 27156-27166. |  View Abstract

Steckbeck, J. D; Sun, C; Sturgeon, T. J; and Montelaro, R. C. (2010) Topology of the C-terminal tail of HIV-1 gp41: differential exposure of the Kennedy epitope on cell and viral membranes. PloS One. 5: e15261. |  View Abstract

Faith, S. A; Wu, Y; Kuhrt, D; Steckbeck, J. D; Craigo, J. K; Clements, J. E; and Cole, K. S. (2010) Induction of antibody-mediated neutralization in SIVmac239 by a naturally acquired V3 mutation. Virol. 400: 86-92. |  View Abstract

Bright, R. A; Carter, D. M; Crevar, C. J; Toapanta, F. R; Steckbeck, J. D; Cole, K. S; Kumar, N. M; Pushko, P; Smith, G; Tumpey, T. M; and Ross, T. M. (2008) Cross-clade protective immune responses to influenza viruses with H5N1 HA and NA elicited by an influenza virus-like particle. PLoS One. 3: e1501. |  View Abstract

Gupta, S; Leutenegger, C. M; Dean, G. A; Steckbeck, J. D; Cole, K. S; and Sparger, E. E. (2007) Vaccination of cats with attenuated feline immunodeficiency virus proviral DNA vaccine expressing gamma interferon. J. Virol. 81: 465-473. |  View Abstract

Steckbeck, J. D; Grieser, H. J; Sturgeon, T; Taber, R; Chow, A; Bruno, J; Murphey-Corb, M; Montelaro, R. C; and Cole, K. S. (2006) Dynamic evolution of antibody populations in a rhesus macaque infected with attenuated simian immunodeficiency virus identified by surface plasmon resonance. J. Med. Primatol. 35: 248-260. |  View Abstract

Steckbeck, J. D; and Cole, K. S. (2006) Dissecting the humoral immune response to simian immunodeficiency virus: mechanisms of antibody-mediated virus neutralization. Immunol. Res. 36: 51-60. |  View Abstract