University of Minnesota
MICaB Graduate Program
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MICaB Faculty

Ryan C. Hunter, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

University of Guelph, 2007, Ph.D.

612-625-1402 - office
612-625-7626 - lab

Lab website:

Research Interests:

Host-microbe interactions, microbial community dynamics

Research in the Hunter lab is focused on host-microbe interactions and seeks to characterize the effect of in vivo environmental chemistry on the dynamics of polymicrobial infections. While recent culture-independent studies have provided a comprehensive survey of the host microbiome and its association with health and disease, there is a major gap in our understanding of the environmental conditions under which pathogens live, how and why they adapt to specific niches within the host, and how microbe-environment relationships co-evolve throughout the course of infection. Our research combines molecular genetics, environmental chemistry, high-resolution microscopy (in situ hybridization and cryo-electron microscopy) and culture-independent approaches to address these ecological questions. The long-term goal is to gain a better understanding of disease etiology, predictors of clinical outcomes, and novel avenues for antimicrobial therapy. We are primarily interested in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and its co-habitants in microbial communities of chronic respiratory infections (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sinusitis, and cystic fibrosis).

Selected Recent Publications:

• Hunter, R.C., F. Asfour, B. Osuna, J. Dingemans, T. Samad, A. Malfroot, P. Cornelis, D.K. Newman. 2013. Ferrous iron is a significant component of bioavailable iron in the cystic fibrosis airways. mBio 4:e00557-13.

• Dietrich, L.E.P., C. Okegbe, A.M. Price-Whelan, H. Sakhtah, R.C. Hunter, D.K. Newman. 2013. Bacterial community morphogenesis is intimately linked to the intracellular redox state. J. Bacteriol. 195: 1371-1380.

• Hunter, R.C., V. Klepac-Ceraj, M. Lorenzi, H. Grotzinger, T.R. Martin, D.K. Newman. 2012. High phenazine content in CF sputum correlates with poor lung function and microbial community complexity. Am. J. Resp. Mol. Cell. Biol. 47:738-745.

• Flores, G., R.C. Hunter, Y. Liu, A. Mets, S. Schouten, A.L. Reysenbach. 2011. Hippea jasoniae sp. nov. and Hippea alviniae sp. nov., thermoacidophilic Deltaproteobacteria isolated from deep-sea hydrothermal vent deposits. Int. J. Sys. Evol. Microbiol. 62:1252-1258.

• Reddy, K.C., R.C. Hunter, N. Bhatia, D.K. Newman, D.H. Kim. 2011. Caenorhabditis elegans NPR-1-mediated behaviors are suppressed in the presence of mucoid bacteria. PNAS U.S.A. 108:12887-12892.

• Hunter, R.C., A.P. Hitchcock, J.J. Dynes, M. Obst, T.J. Beveridge. 2008. Mapping the speciation of iron in Pseudomonas biofilms using scanning transmission X-ray microscopy. Environ. Sci. Technol. 42:8766-8772.

• Hunter, R.C., T.J. Beveridge. 2005. High resolution visualization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 biofilms by freeze-substitution transmission electron microscopy. J. Bacteriol. 187:7619-7630.