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Assistant Professor Spencer Nyholm
picture Assistant Professor Spencer Nyholm
University of Connecticut
Molecular & Cell Biology, BSP 405
91 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3125
Storrs, CT 06269-3125

Telephone: 860-486-4886
Fax: 860-486-4331
Visit Assistant Professor Nyholm's Website.

Education: Ph.D. University of Hawaii; Postdoctoral studies, Stanford University/Harvard University

Research Interests: Symbiosis; comparative immunology

The goal of my laboratory is to understand the mechanisms by which animal hosts and microbial symbionts communicate with an emphasis on how components of the innate immune system may influence these interactions.

We use the symbiosis between the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, and the bioluminescent bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, as a model system to study the effects of beneficial bacteria on animal host tissues. This association has an advantage in that each partner can be raised independently in the laboratory and is readily available for molecular, biochemical, and genetic analyses.

My lab also is engaged in a project using functional genomics to study the relationship between hydrothermal vent tubeworms and their chemoautotrophic, sulfide-oxidizing bacterial symbionts.

Selected Publications:
Schleicher TR, Nyholm SV (2011) Characterizing the host and symbiont proteomes between the bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, and the bacterium, Vibrio fischeri. PLoS One. 6(10):e25649

Collins AJ, Nyholm SV (2011) Draft genome of Phaeobacter gallaeciensis ANG1; a dominant member of the accessory nidamental gland of Euprymna scolopes. J. Bacteriol. 193: 3397-3398.

Collins AJ, Nyholm SV (2010) Obtaining Hemocytes from the Hawaiian Bobtail Squid Euprymna scolopes and Observing their Adherence to Symbiotic and Non-Symbiotic Bacteria. JoVE. 36., doi: 10.3791/1714

Wier AM, Nyholm SV, Mandel MJ, Massengo-Tiassť RP, Schaefer AL, Koroleva I, Splinter-Bondurant S, Brown B, Manzella L, Snir E, Almabrazi H, Scheetz TE, Bonaldo Mde F, Casavant TL, Soares MB, Cronan JE, Reed JL, Ruby EG, McFall-Ngai MJ. (2010) Transcriptional patterns in both host and bacterium underlie a daily rhythm of anatomical and metabolic change in a beneficial symbiosis. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., USA, 107, 2259-64

McFall-Ngai MJ, Nyholm SV, Castillo MG (2009) The role of the immune system in the initiation and persistence of the Euprymna scolopes-Vibrio fischeri symbiosis. Semin. Immunol. 22: 48-53.

Nyholm SV, Stewart JJ, Ruby EG, McFall-Ngai MJ (2009) Recognition between symbiotic Vibrio fischeri and the haemocytes of Euprymna scolopes. Environ. Microbiol. 11: 483-93.

Nyholm, SV (2009) Peptidoglycan monomer release and Vibrio fischeri. J. Bacteriol. 191:1997-1999.

Nyholm SV, Nishiguchi MK (2008) The evolutionary ecology of a sepiolid squid-Vibrio association: from cell to environment. Vie et Milieu 58: 175-184.

Spencer V. Nyholm, Julie Robidart and Peter R. Girguis. 2008. Coupling metabolite flux to transcriptomics: insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying primary productivity by the hydrothermal vent tubeworm Ridgeia piscesae. Biol. Bull. 214: 255-265.

Nyholm, S.V. and M. J. McFall-Ngai. 2004. The Winnowing: Establishing the Squid-Vibrio Symbiosis. Nature Rev. Microbiol. 2: 632-642.

Nyholm, S. V. and M. J. McFall-Ngai. 2003. Dominance of Vibrio fischeri in secreted mucus outside the light organ of Euprymna scolopes: the first site of symbiont specificity. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 69: 3932-7.

Nyholm, S. V., B. Deplancke, H. R. Gaskins, M. A. Apicella, and M. J. McFall-Ngai. 2002. Roles of nonsymbiotic and symbiotic bacteria in the dynamics of mucus secretion during symbiont colonization of the Euprymna scolopes light organ. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 68:5113-5122.

Nyholm, S. V., E. V. Stabb, E. G. Ruby, and M. J. McFall-Ngai. 2000 Establishment of an animal-bacterial association: recruiting symbiotic vibrios from the environment. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., USA 97:10231-10235.

Nyholm, S. V. and M. J. McFall-Ngai. 1998. Sampling the light-organ microenvironment of Euprymna scolopes: description of a population of host cells in association with the bacterial symbiont Vibrio fischeri. Biol. Bull. 195: 89-97.

Other publications:

Nyholm, S.V., Passegue, E., Ludington, W.B., Voskoboynik, A., Mitchel, K., Weissman, I.L., DeTomaso, A. W. (2006) Fester, a candidate allorecognition receptor from a primitive chordate. Immunity. 25: 163-73.

De Tomaso, A.W., Nyholm, S.V., Palmeri, K.J., Ishizuka, K.J., Ludington, W.B., Mitchel, K., Weissman, I.L. 2005. Isolation and characterization of a protochordate histocompatibility locus. Nature. 438:454-9.