Population Genomics: Evolution of a Rickettsia buchneri population through the life cycle of host, Ixodes scapularis.
The evolution of non-pathogenic R. buchneri through host infection is unknown. I plan to utilize Multi Spacer Typing (MST) to study the short-term evolution of a population of this bacteria through the life cycle (oviposition to adulthood) of its host. This method will allow genotypes to be determined based on sequence variations within non-coding regions as opposed to coding regions due to the lack of selection pressure on these non-coding regions. The long term goal of this study is to make comparisons between non-pathogen evolution and pathogen (such as Rickettsia rickettsii) evolution through host infection.
Genetic Transfer of Bacterial DNA Between Bacteria Living Within Amoeba. -Catherine Graves
Bacteria cells in the environment are known to exchange genetic information between neighboring/surrounding bacteria. Free living amoeba are thought to be a host for intracellular bacteria, which possess the ability to survive phagocytosis and exist within the amoeba. We are investigating the types of bacteria that live within amoeba, how these genetic transfers are occurring and the relationship between these microorganisms.