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Speaker: Blake Wiedenheft, Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Montana State University
Biographical Sketch from http://www.montana.edu/mbi/facultyandstaff/wiedneheft/people.html .
Profile Article from https://biobeat.nigms.nih.gov/2016/04/finding-adventure-blake-wiedenhefts-path-to-gene-editing/.
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.
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