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K-State Today

September 17, 2020

Fredrik Inglis to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

Fredrik Inglis, assistant professor in the biology department at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will present "The Social Lives of Microbes and How They Evolve" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, via Zoom.

Microbes are surprisingly social organisms. They interact with each other in a number of different ways ranging from the production of toxins to kill competitors to the secretion of shareable molecules that are used to scavenge nutrients from the environment. These types of interactions also shape their environments and play important roles in disease transmission and virulence. The goal of my lab is to better understand how microbial social interactions evolve. One area we are particularly interested in is how bacteria get enough iron to grow. This often involves producing siderophores — highly diffusible iron-chelating compounds — which can act like public goods, benefiting all the bacterial cells that come into contact with them. However, this also makes them prone to exploitation, where non-producing cells also benefit from siderophores without paying any of the production costs. Evolutionary and ecological theory suggest there are a number of potential solutions for these types of public goods dilemmas, and we are interested in testing how relevant these are to bacteria and microbes in general.

If you would like to visit with Inglis, please contact Ruth Welti at welti@k-state.edu