Biology: Dr. Wildschutte
Dr. Hans Wildschutte


Dr. Wildschutte
Ph. D., University of Pittsburgh
Office:     424B Life Sciences Building
Phone:   1-419-372-4704
Environmental microbiology; Microbial populations; Genetic diversity; Virulence factors; and Bacterial interactions

Research Interests:

Research in the Wildschutte lab is focused on exploring the genetic diversity of aquatic microbial communities with an emphasis on ecological interactions that impact their evolution. We isolate bacteria from their native environments and characterize those strains using a well developed methodology, in which environmental data are superimposed with phylogenetic data. In combination, these provide a powerful system from which we are able to analyze the functional and interactive relationships of bacteria within their habitats, and from which we can form hypotheses concerning the fine-scale population-level diversity of such microbial populations. One of the overall goals of this research is the identification and characterization of bacterial traits that offer some physiological function in the organism’s native environment, yet have also evolved to have virulence effects when within a host. For example, the O-antigen, a polysaccharide displayed on the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, is used to define and classify many pathogens and is considered to be a virulence factor, however the structure is commonly observed in non-pathogenic bacteria, suggesting a functional role outside of the host. By exploring and characterizing the evolution, diversity, and functions of such traits in the environment, we can offer much insight into the evolution of virulence traits prior to infection and colonization of a host.

Selected Publications:

D’souza NA, Kawarasaki Y, Lee RE, Gantz JD, Beall BFN, Shtarkman YM, Koçer ZA, Rogers SO, Wildschutte H, Bullerjahn GS, McKay RML. Microbes promote ice formation in large lakes. ISME 2013.

Cordero OX, Wildschutte H, Kirkup B, Proehl S, Hussain F, Ngo L, Le Roux F, Mincer T, and Polz MF. Natural antibiotic production and resistance reveals social structure of wild bacterioplankton populations. Science 2012; 337:1228-1231.

Preheim, SP, Boucher Y, Wildschutte H, David L, Veneziano D, Alm E, Polz, MF. Metapopulation structure of Vibrionaceae among coastal marine invertebrates. Environ Microbiol. 2011; 13(1):265-75.

Wildschutte H, Preheim SP, Hernandez Y, and Polz, MF. O-Antigen Diversity and Lateral Gene Transfer of the wbe Region Among Vibrio splendidus Isolates. Environ Microbiol. 2010; 12(11):2977-87.

Dedrick RM, Wildschutte H, McCormick JR. Genetic interactions of smc, ftsK, and parB genes in Streptomyces coelicolor and their developmental genome segregation phenotypes. J Bacteriol 2009; 191(1):320-32.

Wildschutte H and Lawrence JG. Differential Salmonella survival against communities of intestinal amoebae. Microbiology 2007; 153(Pt 6):1781-9.

Wildschutte H, Wolfe DM, Tamewitz A, and Lawrence JG. Protozoan predation, diversifying selection, and the evolution of antigenic diversity in Salmonella. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2004; 101(29):10644-9.