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Dr. Allison Phillips

I am interested in exploring how seeds develop and I use maize as a model system. The goals of my research are to determine genes and factors which influence seed development and to specifically determine the contribution of the maternal parent to this process. My research integrates techniques in genetics, molecular biology, cell biology and plant physiology to answer this central question.

I am also interested in working with undergraduates to develop curriculum materials to share Biology and Plant Science with younger students and the wider community. It is an awesome way to integrate science research, teaching, and civic engagement and share the wonder and beauty of plant science with others.

Dr. James Henkel

I am interested in pathogenic organisms and what factors allow them to become pathogenic, especially bacterial toxins. I use Chlamydia trachomatis infections in mammalian cells to determine how the chlamydia re-directs trafficking proteins from normal cellular functions for the bacteria’s reproduction and metabolism. My research involves microbiology, biochemistry, cell biology, and many molecular biological techniques. Currently, I am investigating the re-localization of small GTPases to the membrane wall, called the inclusion, which surrounds the chlamydia.

Dr. Jarrod Erbe

One of my research interests is the use of microorganisms for the detection and quantization of phosphorus in environmental samples. As a member of the Phosphorus Research Group at WLC, I hope to develop microbial phosphate biosensors that will result in a standardized, environmentally friendly alternative for the determination of phosphate concentration in soil samples. I am also interested in determining the types of microbes that form specific biomes. I am currently using ribosomal RNA and other target gene sequences to identify the various species present in the biome associated with an engineered wetland wastewater treatment system.

Dr. John Werner

My research has focused on trying to identify the mechanisms by which bacteria maintain order in their cells. In graduate school I studied the pathway by which an antibiotic resistance mechanism assembles in Escherichia coli. As a postdoc, I utilized high-throughput methods to determine where hundreds of proteins reside inside the cell of Caulobacter crescentus. Most recently, I have been interested in characterizing the bacterial cytoskeletal proteins. Cytoskeletal proteins are necessary for cells to properly divide and maintain their shape. When these proteins do not function correctly cells become misshapen and many cellular processes are directly or indirectly disrupted.