Microbes show a diverse array of shapes and sizes that have been attributed to various environments and functions. This seminar will discuss how and why some microbes substantially change their sizes and shapes to suit prevailing environmental conditions. These adaptations play important roles in microbial survival in harsh or rapidly-changeable environments—such as haloarchaea (e.g. H. volcanii) living in hypersaline lakes that are subject to desiccation or rapid dilution, or uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) living in the bladder surface during a urinary tract infection and subject to similar degrees of change. Functional genomics (e.g. Transposon-mutagenesis and other genetic screens), protein function studies, live cell light and electron microscopy and cytometry have been utilized to understand the regulation and molecular mechanisms underlying the remarkable morphological transformations observed in these microbes.
Iain Duggin received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2002, studying chromosome replication, and then completed postdoctoral research at University of Sydney, the Medical Research Council (Cambridge, UK) and the University of Oxford, which included studies of archaeal and E. coli chromosome replication, cell cycle and morphology. Since 2011 at UTS, his research group has focussed on the regulation of cell morphology and division in haloarchaea and uropathogenic E. coli. He is currently an ARC Future Fellow.