microscopy image

Dominique Limoli’s lab studies the interactions between microbial species—primarily the interactions between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in patients with cystic fibrosis.  

When P. aeruginosa senses S. aureus, it can respond in two distinctly different ways. It can invade, disrupt, and kill the Staph colonies, or the two species can live together in harmony. 

Limoli, PhD, University of Iowa assistant professor of microbiology and immunology, is interested in understanding which conditions drive an antagonistic response between the two bacterial species, and which conditions drive a peaceful one. The difference can have significant consequences for the human host, as many of the toxins Pseudomonas makes to kill Staphylococcus are also damaging for human cells. 

In this image, P. aeruginosa cells (magenta) are capable of sensing and attacking S. aureus (yellow), while P. aeruginosa cells (in cyan) have been genetically modified to be blind to interspecies signals. 

To learn more, read the Young Investigator profile

This image was submitted by the Limoli lab.