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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Graduate Studies

Genetics, Cellular & Molecular Sciences Training Grant

Trainee Profile

Courtney Ellison

Photo of Courtney Ellison
Research Image(s)
A Caulobacter crescentus predivisional cell with a stained flagellum.

A Caulobacter crescentus predivisional cell with a stained flagellum.

Graduate Student
Contact Information
By telephone: 812-855-7239 (lab)
JH 418
Brun Lab website
Program
Department of Biology:
Microbiology
Education
B.S. Microbiology, 2013, University of Georgia (UGA), Minor in Ecology
Awards
Graduated from UGA with Honors in Microbiology (2013)
Phi Beta Kappa membership (2013)
NSF-International Research Experience for Undergrads, Dr. Max Häggblom, Rutgers University-University of Helsinki, Lahti Finland (2012)
NSF-Research Experience for Undergrads (REU), Dr. Covadonga Arias, Auburn University (2011)
Research Description

My research interests focus on the study of bacterial adhesion. The processes leading to the development of biofilms have been extensively studied, but the exact mechanisms involved in the regulation of initial attachment remain poorly understood. Using the model organism, Caulobacter crescentus, I am studying how cell structures contribute to the adhesion process. C. crescentus is an oligotrophic, freshwater alphaproteobacterium that exhibits a dimorphic life cycle consisting of a motile, nonreproductive phase and a sessile, stalked reproductive phase. The transition between these two phases is accompanied by the secretion of an adhesive polysaccharide called the holdfast that is responsible for the permanent attachment of C. crescentus to surfaces. Although it is known that cell structures such as the flagellum and pili contribute to the secretion of the holdfast and attachment of these cells to surfaces, the details of this relationship have yet to be clarified. By using a combination of genetic techniques, microscopy, and single-cell analysis, my goal is to elucidate how cell structures like pili and flagella relate to single-cell adhesion events.

Select Publications
Sarmiento, F.S., Ellison, C. K., Whitman, W.B. 2013. Genetic confirmation of the role of sulfopyruvate decarboxylase in coenzyme M biosynthesis. Archaea. vol. 2013, Article ID 185250, 7 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/185250
Select Presentations (* denotes presenter)
Ellison, C.K.*, Ducret, A., and Y.V. Brun. Using single-cell analysis to elucidate aspects of bacterial adhesion. Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages Meeting. August 5-9, 2014. Madison, WI. (Poster)
Ducret, A.*, Ellison, C., and Y.V. Brun. Characterization of reversible and irreversible adhesion events of Caulobacter crescentus. Stalked alpha-Proteobacteria and relatives: From genes to structure EMBO Workshop. March 30-April 3, 2014. Ebsdorfergrund, Germany. (Poster)

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