Dr. Archer graduated from medical school at the University of Virginia and completed his internship, residency and fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty at the Medical College of Virginia (now the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine) in 1975 and has been there for his entire career.
His early research interest was in infective endocarditis and he was one of the first developers and users of the rabbit model of endocarditis. In particular, he was interested in prosthetic valve endocarditis caused by coagulase-negative staphylococci. His research evolved to a study of staphylococci and, specifically, to antimicrobial resistance in staphylococci with a focus on antibiotic resistance gene exchange and plasmid biology. He has been continuously NIH-funded for his research since 1975, including an NIH MERIT grant from 1995 to 2005. He has been the Senior Associate Dean for Research and Research Training in the VCU School of Medicine since 2005 which includes directing both the MD-PhD combined degree and the PhD predoctoral programs. He has consulted for and been on the Scientific Advisory Board of a number of pharmaceutical companies including, most recently, Achillion and Cubist Pharmaceuticals and from 1998 to 2003 was the recipient of a Bristol Myers Squibb unrestricted research grant. He was a member of and then Chair of the NIH BM1 and DDR Study Sections and is currently on the Scientific Working Group for the Network on Antimicrobial Resistance in Staphylococci (NARSA). He is on the Editorial Board of the ASM journal, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.