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Publications in VIVO

Dawson, Scott Whitman Center Scientist, Whitman Center


My lab is interested in the evolution and function of the cytoskeleton in anaerobic protists. We investigate the mechanism by which the widespread protistan parasite Giardia lambia to the attaches to host intestinal villi using novel MT-based structure termed the “ventral disc”. Our lab employs multiphasic approaches to define the primary structural elements of the ventral disc at high resolution, to identify and analyze disc protein function, and to quantify attachment dynamics and test attachment hypotheses using high resolution live imaging. Giardia also has eight flagella organized into four pairs that are critical for motility,cell division and possibly for excystation. We are interested in how (and why) the eight Giardia flagella are uniquely specified in their function. Lastly, Few genomes of free-living microbial eukaryotes are sequenced, despite their critical importance in ecology, evolution, and basic cellular biology. Our lab is also interested in early eukaryotic evolution, and has been involved in the recent sequencing and analysis of the genomes of the free-living amoeboflagellate Naegleria gruberi and diplomonad Spironucleus vortens. We are currently using genomic approaches to investigate nature of the association between free-living anaerobic protists and methanogenic archaea in the bovine rumen.

selected publications