Activities

We hold Two annual meetings, one in the Spring and another in the Fall at organizations that foster education and support for the Microbiological Sciences. 

 

The next meeting will be held LIVE @ The University of Wyoming

Saturday, April 30th, @8 AM

Abstract submission deadline: April 15th @ 12:00 AM

Registration fees: 

Branch Faculty Members: $15

Branch Student Members: $5

FINAL PROGRAM Spring 2022

 

We will have an ASM Distinguished Lecturer

Dr. Steve DIggle

We will also have an Invited Speaker 

Dr. Elizabeth Di Russo Case

Steve Diggle, Ph.D.

Georgia Institute of Technology

"Understanding Interactions in Microbial Populations"

Social Evolution in Microbes

Microbiologists are rapidly gaining a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in social behaviors, and the underlying genetic regulation. In this literature it is often assumed that cooperation is favored because it provides a benefit at the population or species level. However, evolutionary theory shows that this idea cannot work because the population is at risk from invasion by selfish individuals (cheaters or free-loaders), who do not cooperate but can obtain the benefit of cooperation from others. More generally, explaining cooperation remains a problem for evolutionary theory. Microorganisms are particularly useful for addressing this problem because of the opportunities that they offer for genetic manipulation and experimental evolution, and there is huge potential for interdisciplinary research in this area, combining both mechanistic and evolutionary approaches. In this lecture I will cover what a social behavior is and how this applies to microbes and how it impacts our understanding of infection. I will discuss how this field has progressed over the past 10 years, the key findings and future directions.

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Elizabeth Di Russo Case, Ph.D. 
University of Wyoming

“Primary Murine Macrophages as a Tool for Virulence Factor Discovery in Coxiella burnetii, the agent of Q fever.”

Our research focuses on defining the molecular mechanisms by which intracellular bacteria remodel the host cell to create a pathogen-tailored niche for replication.

The Di Russo Case lab's current research interest is defining the molecular mechanisms of Coxiella burnetii pathogenesis. Coxiella burnetii causes the human disease Q fever, which can appear as an acute, severe respiratory disease, or a debilitating chronic illness.  This intracellular bacterium prefers to infect the resident macrophages of the lung, and replicates within an intracellular compartment that resembles a mature phagolysosome.

To investigate its unique pathogenic properties, we use a cellular model that employs primary mouse macrophages. The macrophage infection model allows us to ask fundamental questions about how C. burnetii modulates its host cell and evades destruction by host innate immune defenses.

 

Other tools we have incorporated include bacterial genetics, an animal model of disease, transcriptomics, and cell biological techniques to form a multidisciplinary approach to investigating Coxiella pathogenesis. Long-term, I plan to use Coxiella infection to answer fundamental questions about the defenses macrophages employ against invading pathogens and how bacteria evade them. I believe that my distinctive infection model will allow me to discover novel mechanisms of Coxiella pathogenesis while uncovering unappreciated facets of macrophage biology.