Research in the Wildschutte lab is focused on exploring the genetic diversity of soil and aquatic microbial communities with an emphasis on ecological interactions that impact the evolution of antibiotic production and resistance. We isolate bacteria from their native environments and characterize those strains using a well-developed methodology in which experimental data are overlaid with phylogenetic diversity. In combination, this strategy provides a powerful system from which we are able to analyze the interactive relationships of bacteria within their habitats, and form hypotheses concerning the fine-scale microbial population-level structure and their functions. One of the overall goals of this research is the identification of bacterial traits that confers a fitness advantage in the environment and its role in shaping microbial communities. For instance, a major focus in the lab is the identification and characterization of antibiotics and other antagonistic factors that inhibit human and plant pathogens. By exploring and characterizing the evolution, diversity, and interactive functions of such compounds, we can offer much insight into the evolution of bacterial traits and the identification of novel inhibitory compounds that prevent the growth of devastating pathogens.
Wagner A, Norris S, Chatterjee P, Morris P, and Wildschutte H. Aquatic pseudomonads inhibit oomycete plant pathogens ofGlycine max. Frontiers Microbiol, May 2018; 29:9:1007. doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01007
Davis E, Sloan T, Tripathi A, Aurelius K, Barbour A, Bodey E, Clark B, Dennis C, Drown R, Fleming M, Humbert A, Kerns T, Lingro K, McMillin M, Meyer A, Pope B, Stalevicz A, Steffen B, Steindl A, Williams C, Wimberley C, Zenas R, Butela K, and Wildschutte H. Antibiotic discovery though The Small World Initiative: a molecular strategy to identify biosynthetic gene clusters involved in antagonistic activity. MicrobiologyOpen. Jan 2017; 00:1-9. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.435
Chatterjee P, Davis E, Yu F, James S, Wildschutte JH, Wiegmann DD, Sherman DH, McKay RM, LiPuma JJ, and Wildschutte H. Environmental pseudomonads inhibit cystic fibrosis patient-derived Pseudomonas aeruginosa. ApplEnviron Microbiol. Jan 2017; 83(2):e02701-16. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02701-16
D’souza NA, Kawarasaki Y, Lee RE, Gantz JD, Beall BFN, Shtarkman YM, Koçer ZA, Rogers SO, Wildschutte H,Bullerjahn GS, McKay RML. Microbes promote ice formation in large lakes. ISME 2013.
Cordero OX, Wildschutte H, Kirkup B, Proehl S, Hussain F, Ngo L, Le Roux F, Mincer T, and Polz MF. Natural antibiotic production and resistance reveals social structure of wild bacterioplankton populations. Science 2012; 337:1228-1231.
Preheim, SP, Boucher Y, Wildschutte H, David L, Veneziano D, Alm E, Polz, MF. Metapopulation structure of Vibrionaceae among coastal marine invertebrates. Environ Microbiol. 2011; 13(1):265-75.
Wildschutte H, Preheim SP, Hernandez Y, and Polz, MF. O-Antigen Diversity and Lateral Gene Transfer of the wbe Region Among Vibrio splendidus Isolates. Environ Microbiol. 2010; 12(11):2977-87.
Wildschutte H, Wolfe DM, Tamewitz A, and Lawrence JG. Protozoan predation, diversifying selection, and the evolution of antigenic diversity in Salmonella. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2004; 101(29):10644-9.