2016 NIGMS Director’s Early-Career Investigator Lecture – Bacteria, Their Viruses, and How They Taught Us to Perform Genome Surgery

Balcony A
Natcher Conference Center (Building 45)
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland

Start Date: 4/13/2016 2:00 PM

End Date: 4/13/2016 3:00 PM

WatchVideocast of the lecture (live or later)

2016 Early Career Investigator Lecture - Bacteria, Their Viruses, and How They Taught Us to Perform Genome Surgery

Speaker: Blake Wiedenheft, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Montana State University

Biographical Sketch

Profile Article

My career has been dedicated to understanding the mechanisms that viruses use to manipulate their hosts and the counter defense systems that microbes employ to defend themselves from infection. As a predoctoral fellow, my dissertation focused on the unusual viruses that infect thermoacidophilic archaea. This work allowed me opportunities to collect samples and isolate viruses from geothermal features located in some of the world’s wildest places (e.g., Yellowstone National Park, Kamchatka Russia, etc.). The resilience of life in these seemingly inhospitable environments (i.e., +80C and ~pH3) fueled my curiosity to understand the genetic, biochemical and structural basis for life at high temperatures. Today, I continue to be intrigued by the mechanisms of resistance, but instead of high temperatures, my lab aims to understand how bacteria contend with pervasive viral predators. Our work focuses primarily on understanding the structural and functional basis of adaptive immunity in bacteria.

Wiedenheft is an investigator in the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program under grant P20GM103500. Support through IDeA contributed to his independent research career, which NIGMS has supported since 2014 under grant R01GM108888.

You can submit questions or comments before or during the lecture on Twitter using the hashtag #ecilecture.