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Microbial Genetics

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Featuring Reed Stubbendieck in the Straight Lab

Reed’s work in Dr. Paul Straight’s laboratory is focused on uncovering mechanisms that bacteria use to compete with one another in the environment. To study bacterial competition, Reed uses a model competition comprised of two species of bacteria: Bacillus subtilis and Streptomyces.  Both organisms are nearly ubiquitous in the soil and produce numerous antibiotic molecules. Reed identified antibiotic linearmycins produced by Streptomyces sp. Mg1 that cause the lysis and degradation of B. subtilis. Additionally, using bacterial competition, he discovered a previously uncharacterized two-component signaling system encoded in the B. subtilis genome. The signaling system is involved in specific resistance to linearmycin and, further, controls a suite of developmental functions that enhance the competitive fitness of B. subtilis. This work was published in late 2015 in the journal PLOS Genetics and was covered by the popular press. In addition to his research, Reed has recently published two review articles in the Journal of Bacteriology and Frontiers in Microbiology that cover the topics of mechanisms of bacterial competition and bacterial communities, respectively.

During his time at Texas A&M University, Reed has won several awards including 1st places in both the 1st annual Genetics and the 24th annual Biochemistry & Biophysics Graduate Student Oral Research Competitions. In the summer of 2016, Reed’s poster won an outstanding award at the Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phage Meeting in Maddison, WI.