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Matthew L. Ellison, Assistant Professor Biology
Program/Dept: Biology & Chemistry
Degrees, Licensures and Certifications: B.S. – Biology, Middle Tennessee State University; M.S. – Immunology, Mississippi State University; Ph.D. – Microbiology, Mississippi State University; Postdoc – The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
Pathogenic Microbiology, Antimicrobial Resistance, Zinc Homeostasis
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen than can cause chronic infections in immunocompromised individuals and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in those suffering from cystic fibrosis. Treatment of P. aeruginosa infections is complicated due to the organism having high intrinsic resistance to many commonly used antimicrobial agents.
My research currently focuses on the role of zinc homeostasis in P. aeruginosa virulence. We have recently identified a link between components of the zinc uptake system in this organism and the production of several virulence factors. We are currently investigating this link using molecular, genetic, and biochemical approaches. Our underlying goal is to understand how this organism controls zinc homeostasis at the genetic level, so that we can identify the specific genetic link to disease, and hopefully identify new potential targets for drug development.
Dr. Ellison’s research is currently supported by KBRIN and NIH Grant 8P20GM103436-12.
A link to Dr. Ellison’s publications can be found here.