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K-State Today

Division of Communications and Marketing
Kansas State University
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February 27, 2019

Today: Josephine Chandler presents Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Seminar

Submitted by Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Josephine Chandler, assistant professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Kansas, is the featured speaker for the Feb. 27 Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Seminar. She will present "Making friends to make war: Quorum sensing, cooperation and interbacterial competition" at 4 p.m. in 120 Ackert Hall.

Chandler completed a bachelor's degree at the University of Iowa and a doctorate at the University of Minnesota, both in microbiology. She was awarded both a graduate fellowship and an NIH Minnesota Craniofacial Training Program Fellowship to do her doctoral work with Gary M. Dunny focusing on cell-cell signaling in the opportunistic pathogen Enterococcus faecalis. Her work earned her the Bacaner Research Award and the student-voted Golden Pipetman Award. Chandler then received a postdoctoral position at University of Washington in 2006 with Pete Greenberg, an expert in bacterial quorum sensing, where she studied quorum sensing and toxin production in the opportunistic pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Her postdoc was funded by an NIH individual NRSA fellowship. She later transitioned to a research assistant professor position and obtained funding through the Cystic Fibrosis Working group and NSF. In 2014, she began performing independent research as an assistant professor in the molecular biosciences department at the University of Kansas studying how social behaviors such as quorum sensing evolve in bacteria.

Presentation abstract: Our group is interested in understanding bacterial interactions in complex microbial communities, such as those frequently found in soil or in human infections. We study quorum sensing, a type of chemical communication between bacteria that regulates diverse behaviors in response to changes in population density. We combine molecular genetics approaches and laboratory "in silico" models of multiple-strain and multiple-species communities to address questions about quorum sensing, and how quorum-sensing systems change the dynamics of populations in complex communities. Our work has contributed to the emerging area of biology referred to as "sociomicrobiology," which is focused on bacterial social behaviors such as communication and community behavior. Our results are important for understanding the biology of quorum sensing, with the long-term goal of developing better strategies to control polymicrobial infections.

The biochemistry and molecular biophysics department is part of K-State's College of Arts and Sciences. To learn more, visit k-state.edu/bmb/.