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Microbiome-infectious disease interactions


The composition of bacteria in different locations of the humansbody that make up the human microbiome (image credit:

Research and Publications

A major research thrust in my laboratory has been understanding how biodiversity, synthetic chemicals, and host immune responses mediate disease risk.  We are now extending this research to examine how exposure of vertebrate hosts to pesticides and antibiotics affects infectious disease risk by altering immunity and the biodiversity of the host microbiome.  Using 16S-sequencing, we have shown that early-life exposure to pesticides and antibiotics disrupts the biodiversity of the host microbiome, and we now are moving towards using transcriptomic approaches and fucntional immune assays to understand how these pollutants and the microbiome affect defenses against pathogens.  With pathogen challenge experiments, we will be able to clearly link changes to the microbiome and immunity to changes in host resistance and tolerance of infections.

Sample Publications

Knutie, S.A.†, Gabor, C., Kohl, K.D., Rohr, J.R. 2018. Do host-associated gut microbiota mediate the effect of an herbicide on disease risk in frogs? Journal of Animal Ecology, 87: 489-499.

Knutie, S.A.†, Shea, L.A.§, , Kupselaitis, M.§, Wilkinson, C.L.§, Kohl, K.D., Rohr, J.R. 2017. Early-life diet affects host microbiota and later-life defenses against parasites in frogs. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 57(4), 732-742.

Knutie, S.A.†, Wilkinson, C.L.§, Kohl, K.D., Rohr, J.R. 2017. Early-life disruption of amphibian microbiota decreases later-life resistance to parasites. Nature Communications 8, 86.

For a full list of publications, please see the Publications page on this website.

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