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Kimberly Beaton

BMMB Graduate Student-Weinert Lab
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The Weinert Lab

About Me

I got my B.S. in biology from Salve Regina University in 2018, where I investigated the mechanical mechanisms that facilitated produce-borne transmission of Salmonella.  I worked as a carpenter at a theater for four years during college, and I love to work with my hands and draw in my free time. I adore animals and have an albino corn snake named Fion as a pet with me in State College.


Research Interest

The effects of oxygen sensing and atypical cyclic nucleotide production on interspecies bacterial interactions. Investigating how bacteria communicate with one another and react to their environment.


Research Summary

Diguanylate cyclase domain-containing globin coupled sensors bind with environmental oxygen to communicate the presence or absence of oxygen. This family of globin coupled sensor is found in a wide breadth of bacteria that contain notable agricultural and human pathogens such as Bordetella pertussis, Pectobacterium carotovorum¬łand Shewanella species. Removal of the globin coupled sensor has been linked to altered motility, inhibited biofilm formation, altered expression of autoinducers, and inhibited virulence in disease models. These pathways affect how the bacteria can compete for niche space and communicate with other microbes in their environment.

I am investigating the effects of the deletion of the Shewanella strain ANA3 globin coupled sensor on its ability to compete with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, mimicking a co-infection that is found in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. We have designed specially machined competition plates to monitor how sharing niche space and nutrients affects two populations of bacteria in a contact-independent manner. We are also using metabolic profiling to identify which pathways are involved downstream of oxygen sensing through globin coupled sensor signaling.


Programs and Training Centers


University Committees

  • Secretary - Students for STEM


Honors and Awards

  • Homer F. Braddock Biology and Chemistry Fellowship