ChEMS Seminar: Host Tissue "Design" for the Establishment and Maintenance of Luminescent Symbioses

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (MDEA)

Professor Margaret J. McFall-Ngai

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin, Madison

A variety of squids and fishes have bacterial light organs. Typically, these symbioses are established anew each generation. In the model association between the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes and its luminescent partner Vibrio fischeri, the host develops a nascent light-organ morphology during embryogenesis that promotes colonization at hatching. Specifically, a ciliated surface enriches for the environmental symbionts by first biophysical and then biochemical mechanisms. Once the symbiosis is established, the light organ matures to a morphology that has remarkable convergence with the eye in form and function. This presentation will focus on the details of tissue "design" that underlie the biomechanical and biophysical properties of juvenile and adult organs that promote establishment and light modulation of the host light-organ system.

Bio: Margaret McFall-Ngai is a professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine and Public Health, and member of the Symbiosis Cluster group, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Eye Research Institute. Her laboratory studies two areas: 1) the role of beneficial bacteria in health using the squid-vibrio model; 2) the biochemical and molecular "design" of tissues that interact with light. In addition, she has been heavily involved in promoting microbiology as the cornerstone of the field of biology. McFall-Ngai also currently holds the positions of AD White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University and EU Marie Curie ITN Professor. She was recently (2011-2013) a Moore Scholar at California Institute of Technology. McFall-Ngai has been a Guggenheim fellow and is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology (2002), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011) and the National Academy of Sciences (2014).