Rohwer Wegley-Kelly Lab

Lab News & Events

Sep 01, 2013

Going Viral

By Breeann Kirby and Jeremy J. Barr

From therapeutics to gene transfer, bacteriophages offer a sustainable and powerful method of controlling microbes.

News Article
Jul 23, 2013

The Line Islands Collection

By Andreas Haas
Forest Rohwer - Figure1
Forest Rohwer - Figure5

In the run-up to an upcoming expedition to the Southern Line Islands in fall of 2013, a collection of related articles has been launched in the open access journal PeerJ. Two of the manuscripts presented in this paper collection show the use oxygen optodes to visualize micro-scale oxygen gradients at coral-algal interfaces and for biological oxygen demand.

Another study investigates how different functional groups of benthic primary producers, like corals, calcifying-, macro- and turf- algae "culture" up different microbes and thereby alter the microbial community metabolism.

This series of studies was driven by the demand to better understand the mechanisms underlying the alterations in coral reef community compositions as a result of human disturbance. The focus hereby lies on interaction processes between the microbial community and macro-organisms, like fish, coral, or algae, and on the reciprocal effects of both micro- and macro- organisms on key water parameters like oxygen, carbon, or nutrient concentrations.

The joint efforts of different laboratories specialized in multiple scientific disciplines allow for a more facetted view on the task of detecting overarching mechanisms which shape the structure of these different communities. Thanks to the opportunity provided by the newly established open-access online journal PeerJ, we can present these studies together in one confluent paper collection ( and will add further studies to the Collection arising from our continuing efforts. This new concept will enable other researchers to better conceptualize these and future findings in their broader context.

May 30, 2013

BAM interview on FOX5 San Diego

Watch the BAM interview on FOX5 San Diego news:

May 30, 2013

Jeremy Barr interview KFWB-L.A. radio interview

Watch the BAM interview on FOX5 San Diego news:

May 27, 2013

Jeremy Barr Reddit AMA

Checkout Jeremy 's AMA on Reddit

May 27, 2013

BAM in the news

More stories about BAM in the news:

May 24, 2013

BAM in the news

May 21, 2013

BAM in the news

May 20, 2013

Bacteriophage adhering to mucus provide a non-host-derived immunity

Forest Rohwer - BAM FigureThe protective layer of mucus on the body's surface serves both as an entry point for pathogens and a home for large populations of beneficial microbes. This mucus layer harbors a large diversity of both bacteria and phage. We show elevated concentrations of phage on all mucosal surfaces sampled, ranging from cnidarians to humans, compared to the surrounding environment.

Using bacteriophage T4 and various in vitro tissue culture cells as a model system, Jeremy J. Barr et. al. demonstrate that this increase in phage abundance is mucus-dependent. This phage-mucus association reduces bacterial attachment and colonization of the mucus, which subsequently protects the underlying epithelium from bacterial infection. Enrichment of phage in mucus occurs via binding interactions between variable glycan residues displayed in mucus and immunoglobulin-like protein domains exposed on phage capsids.

Based on these observations we propose the Bacteriophage Adherence to Mucus (BAM) model that provides a ubiquitous, but non-host-derived, immunity applicable to mucosal surfaces. This benefits the metazoan host by limiting mucosal bacteria, and benefits the phage through more frequent interactions with bacterial hosts. BAM suggests the first demonstration of a symbiotic interaction between phage and metazoan hosts that provides a previously unrecognized immunity that actively protects mucosal surfaces.

Read the full article at PNAS: Barr et al. "Bacteriophage adhering to mucus provide a non–host-derived immunity"

May 20, 2013

BAM in the news

Several stories have been published in the media about the BAM paper. Here are a few:

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Forest Rohwer, PhD
Professor of Biology
SDSU Dept. of Biology