- Ph.D. 2007 - Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine
- S.B. 2000 – Biology (minor in Environmental Health & Toxicology), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The focus of our research is to understand how bacteria have influenced the evolution of animals and how these interactions impact their ecosystem. Our group’s approach is to study the interaction between choanoflagellates, heterotrophic nanoflagellates which are the closest living relatives of animals, and their microbial community. We have established the colonial choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta and its prey bacterium Algoriphagus as a new system in which to test hypotheses about the evolution of interkingdom signaling. Our goal is to elucidate the nature and function of the microbial signals that elicit morphogenic responses in choanoflagellates and how these signals impact the cell biology of other members of the microbial community.
Current Research Projects:
- Exploring bacterial outer membrane vesicles in interkingdom signaling in a variety of animals and ecological contexts.
- Investigating impact of bacterial sulfonolipid/sphingolipid interkingdom signals on community dynamics
- modeling changes in microbial community structure under defined nutrient regimes
- connecting activity of specific microbial assemblages with metabolic and geochemical processes
- Defining the microbial biogeography of Native Hawaiian fishpond ecosystems using metagenomic approaches
- Combining models of community dynamics with empirical data on microbial metagenomics of Native Hawaiian coastal ecosystems to estimate the impact of land use on shifts in microbial activity.
Alegado RA*, Brown LW*, Cao S, Dermenjian RK, Zuzow R, Fairclough SR, Clardy J, King N. 2012. A bacterial sulfonolipid triggers multicellular development in the closest living relatives of animals. eLife,1:200013. Epub Oct 15 2012, doi:10.7544/eLife.0.00013.
* authors contributed equally
Alegado RA*, Grabenstatter JD, Zuzow R, Morris A, Huang SY, Summons R, King N*. 2012.
Algoriphagus machipongonensis sp. nov. co-isolated with a colonial choanoflagellate. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, Epub Feb 24 2012, doi: 10.1099/ijs.0.03846-1.
Dayel MJ, Alegado RA*, Fairclough SR*, Levin T, Nichols SA, McDonald K, King N. 2011. Cell differentiation and morphogenesis in the colony-forming choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta. Developmental Biology 357(1): 73-82.
* authors contributed equally
Alegado RA*, Ferreira S, Nusbaum C, Young SK, Zeng Q, Imamovic A, Fairclough SR, King N. 2011. Complete genome sequence of Algoriphagus sp. PR1, Bacterial Prey of a Colony-forming Choanoflagellate. Journal of Bacteriology 193(6):1485-1496.
Alegado RA, Chin CY, Monack D, Tan MW. 2011. The two-component sensor kinase KdpD is required for Salmonella typhimurium colonization of Caenorhabditis elegans and survival in macrophages. Cellular Microbiology 13(10): 1618-37.
Alegado RA, Tan MW. 2008. Resistance to antimicrobial peptides contributes to persistence of Salmonella typhimurium in the C. elegans intestine. Cellular Microbiology 10(6): 1259-1273.
Alegado RA, Campbell MC, Chen WC, Slutz SS, Tan MW. 2003. Characterization of mediators of
microbial virulence and innate immunity using the C. elegans host-pathogen model. Cellular Microbiology 5(7): 435-44.