Work Food Innovation Center (FIC) 1901 N 21st Rm 262
Lincoln NE 68588-6205
Work 402-472-6753 On campus, dial 2-6753
The overall goal for my research program is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria interact with their surroundings, including host cells, other bacteria, abiotic surfaces and extracellular structures. In particular, we seek to explain the phenotypic differences between bacterial strains of similar genetic background; typically by comparing pathogenic bacteria to their commensal or environmental counterparts. My current focus is on Type IV filaments, a class of extracellular appendages common to a wide range of bacteria, both Gram-positive and Gram-negative. To these ends, we pursue a variety of objectives: Determining the high-resolution three-dimensional structures of the proteins and glycoproteins which make up extracellular assemblies. Using lower-resolution structural techniques in combination with molecular modeling to understand how subunits are assembled into extracellular superstructures. Identifying substrates for intermolecular interactions that underpin the adhesive activity of pili and other bacterial appendages. Elucidating the role of extracellular polymers, particularly protein fibers and polysaccharides, in promoting and stabilizing bacterial biofilms.


  • BA, The Johns Hopkins University, 2005
  • Ph D, The University of Notre Dame, 2011

icon-documentPublications and Other Intellectual Contributions

  • The structure of PilA from <i>Acinetobacter baumannii</i> AB5075 suggests a mechanism for functional specialization in <i>Acinetobacter</i> type IV pili., The Journal of biological chemistry, January (1st Quarter/Winter) 2019
  • DNA Uptake by Type IV Filaments, DNA Uptake by Type IV Filaments, February 2019
  • Motility and adhesion through type IV pili in Gram-positive bacteria., Biochemical Society transactions, December 2016
  • Structural Diversity in the Type IV Pili of Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter., The Journal of biological chemistry, October (4th Quarter/Autumn) 2016
  • Type IV pili promote early biofilm formation by Clostridium difficile., Pathogens and disease, August 2016
  • Structural and evolutionary analyses show unique stabilization strategies in the type IV pili of Clostridium difficile., Structure (London, England : 1993), February 2015
  • Structure of Clostridium difficile PilJ exhibits unprecedented divergence from known type IV pilins., The Journal of biological chemistry, February 2014

icon-business-chartResearch & Grants

  • Microcolony Formation, DHHS-NIAID, June 2017
  • Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Bacterial Persistence, Internal, July 2018

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