‌Alex Wilson

PROFESSOR

DIRECTOR OF GRADUATE STUDIES

253 Cox Science Center
1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33124
E-mail: acwilson@miami.edu
Office: (305) 284-2003
Fax: (305) 284-3039

Lab website


EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

  • PERT Postdoctoral fellow, 2003-2006, University of Arizona
  • Postdoctoral fellow, 2000-2003, University of California, Davis
  • Ph.D. 2001 Biology, Macquarie University, Australia
  • Visiting fellow, 1998-2000, The Australian National University, Australia
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GRANTS, AWARDS, AND FELLOWSHIPS

  • Elected Representative for the Americas to the International Aphid Genomics Consortium Board Member, 2009-2011.
  • Scholarly and Creative Activity Award, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Miami, 2008-2009.
    Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for outstanding doctoral research, Macquarie University, 2001.
    Australian Postgraduate Award, March 1997 – May 2000.
    Milthorpe Memorial Prize for excellence in undergraduate plant biology, Macquarie University, 1993.

AREAS OF FOCUS

  • Evolutionary Biology

RESEARCH INTERESTS

My research focuses on characterizing the mechanisms that metabolically and developmentally integrate hosts and symbionts.  Symbioses are mutually beneficial interactions between species.  They are so beneficial that they are everywhere - in fact you comprise ten symbiotic bacterial cells for every human cell and those bacteria are important determinants of your phenotype, the ability of your body to heal wounds, and digest food.  A compelling challenge in symbiosis research concerns identifying and characterizing the mechanisms of host/symbiont integration.  I lead a research group that uses symbiotic partnerships involving one host interacting with one, or at most two, symbionts to identify fundamental design principles in the evolution of symbiosis.


TEACHING INTERESTS

My teaching is focused in the areas of genetics and the use of genomic tools to address ecological and evolutionary questions. Specifically, at an undergraduate level I teach BIL 250- Genetics for majors, while at a graduate level I teach the genome structure and evolution parts of the graduate core (BIL612) and in collaboration with Dr. Tosney, a short course in professional skills. My primary goal as a teacher is to engage my students to think actively and critically in class about the material being presented so as to push at the boundaries of their understanding and world-view.


SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

  • Lu HL, Price DRG, Wikramanayake A, Chang CC, Wilson ACC (2016) Ontogenetic differences in localization of glutamine transporter ApGLNT1 in the pea aphid demonstrate that mechanisms of host/symbiont integration are not similar in the maternal versus embryonic bacteriome. EvoDevo, DOI: 10.1186/s13227-015-0038-y.
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  • Wilson ACC, Duncan RP (2015) Signatures of host/symbiont genome coevolution in insect nutritional endosymbioses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 112(33):10255-10261.

  • Price DRG, Wilson ACC (2014) A substrate ambiguous enzyme facilitates genome reduction in an intracellular symbiont. BMC Biology 12:110.
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  • Duncan RP, Husnik F, Van Leuven JT, Gilbert DG, Dávalos LM, McCutcheon JP, Wilson ACC (2014) Dynamic recruitment of amino acids transporters to the insect-symbiont interface. Molecular Ecology, 23(6): 1608-1623.
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  • Price DRG, Feng H, Baker JD, Bavan S, Luetje CW, Wilson ACC (2014) Aphid amino acid transporter regulates glutamine supply to intracellular bacterial symbionts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111, 320-325.
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  • Jiang Z, Jones DH, Khuri S, Tsinoremas NF, Wyss T, Jander G, Wilson ACC (2013) Comparative analysis of genome sequences from four strains of the
  • Buchnera aphidicola Mp endosymbiont of the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae. BMC Genomics, 14, 917.
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  • Wilson ACC, Sternberg LdSL, Hurley KB (2011) Aphids alter host-plant nitrogen isotope fractionation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108, 10220-10224.

  • Wilson ACC, Ashton PD, Calevro F, Charles H, Colella S, Febvay G, Jander G, Kushlan PF, Macdonald SJ, #Schwartz JF, Thomas GH, Douglas AE (2010) Genomic insight into the amino acid relations of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum with its symbiotic bacterium Buchnera aphidicola. Insect Molecular Biology 19, 249-258.
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FUNDING

  • The National Science Foundation, Nutrient Exchange and Regulation at the Aphid Symbiotic Interface, PI: Wilson, CoPI: Luetje, 2014-2018.
    The National Science Foundation, DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Mechanisms driving evolutionary innovation through gene duplication in the amino acid transporters of sap-feeding insects, PI: Wilson, CoPI: Duncan, 2014-2016.
    The National Science Foundation, REU Supplement: Characterization of Aphid Nutrient Amino Acid Transporters with Focus on the Symbiotic Interface, PI: Wilson, 2012.
    The National Science Foundation, Characterization of Aphid Nutrient Amino Acid Transporters with Focus on the Symbiotic Interface, PI: Wilson, CoPI: Price, 2011-2016.
    USDA Arthropod and Nematode Biology and Management: Suborganismal Biology, Program Code 91112, Functional Analysis of Proteins and Metabolites in Aphid Saliva, PD: Jander, Co-PD: Wilson, 2010-2013.
    The American Genetic Association Special Event Award, Pea Aphid Genome Annotation Workshop I, 2007-2008
    USDA Tools, Resources and Genomics for Arthropods and Nematodes, Pea Aphid Genome Annotation Workshop I, 2008.
    USDA Functional Genomics of Agriculturally Important Organisms, Microarray analysis of agriculturally relevant gene expression in the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae, PD: Jander, Co-PDs: Moran, Wilson & Gray, 2005-2009.

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