Kathryn Milligan-Myhre

Kathryn Milligan-Myhre

Assistant Professor
Biological Sciences
CPSB 201Q
907.786.1556
kmillig1@alaska.edu
http://bit.ly/1noxUyD

Education

  • 2009 Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI
  • 1999 B.S., Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI

Biography

Curriculum Vitae

I have broad expertise in microbiology, including both pathogenic and symbiotic microbes. I have been trained in host immune response to microbes, and have examined how the host genetic background contributes to the ability of the host to shape the intestinal microbiota. As an undergrad and as a lab technician, I helped describe environmental and genetic factors that regulate toxin production in Staphylococcus aureus. For my PhD thesis I identified and characterized genes and their products necessary for an obligate intracellular parasite to establish infections in host brains. I expanded my exploration of host-microbe interactions during my postdoctoral training at the University of Oregon, where, working with a team of talented research associates, undergraduate students, and fellow postdoctoral fellows, I established stickleback as a model to examine how host genetic background contributes to host immune responses to intestinal microbiota. During these studies, I built collaborations across two institutions and three universities, and mentored ten undergraduate and graduate students. 
My long term mentoring goal is to combine the experiences I have had as an Inupiaq earning a PhD and the expertise I gained in multiple research fields into a flourishing career as a mentor and professor to microbiologists. I was raised in a remote community above the Arctic Circle that was 80% Alaskan Native. I was the first person in my village to earn a PhD in biological sciences. While in school, I was struck by the scarcity of females and minorities in science. As a result, I am committed to making the academic research field a welcoming environment for minorities. I accomplish this by being a visibly active member in both scientific and native communities. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oregon, I worked extensively with the Diversity Director and the UO Native American community, staff, students and faculty to develop a new program for recruiting Alaska Natives and Native Americans (AN/NA) into science (Alaska Oregon Research Training Alliance, AORTA). I collaborated with Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon to support an intense college preparation summer program (Bridge of the Gods Summer Academy, BOGSA), for which I also taught Native American high school students Introduction to Microbiology for two weeks every summer to prepare them for the rigors of college and to show them that they can be successful in science classes. I also taught Alaskan Native games to students and community levels at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Oregon. I will continue to build relationships between the University of Oregon and the University of Alaska Anchorage, and between the UAA and the Alaskan Native/Native American community to recruit and support AN/NA students in science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields.

Teaching Responsibilities

BIOL A240/A241: Introduction to Microbiology

Professional & Department Service

 Vivarium Use Committee

Research Interests

I am broadly interested in how host genetic background contributes to the balance between the immune response to microbiota in the gut and intestinal microbial membership. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oregon, I developed stickleback as a model to examine how host genetic background influences immune response to microbiota in the gut and gut microbial community membership. I found that genetically distinct populations have different gut microbial commuI am broadly interested in how host genetic background contributes to the balance between the immune response to microbiota in the gut and intestinal microbial membership. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oregon, I developed stickleback as a model to examine how host genetic background influences immune response to microbiota in the gut and gut microbial community membership. I found that genetically distinct populations have different gut microbial communities and vary in their immune responses to microbiota. We will now use this model to examine genes that are involved in the host immune response to microbiota and microbial community membership, with the hopes that these genes will elucidate genetic contribution to human diseases like inflammatory bowel diseases. Given that gut microbiota protect the host against pathogens, I am exploring how host genetic background induces or suppresses inflammation in the gut and how those changes result in differential susceptibility to pathogens due to, or concurrent with, changes in microbiota membership. I am building a diverse research program that incorporates several aspects of host-microbe interactions. This will enable me to mentor students interested in fields as diverse as bacteriology, immunology, systems biology, bioinformatics, ecology, and pathogenic microbiology. nities and vary in their immune responses to microbiota. We will now use this model to examine genes that are involved in the host immune response to microbiota and microbial community membership, with the hopes that these genes will elucidate genetic contribution to human diseases like inflammatory bowel diseases. 
Given that gut microbiota protect the host against pathogens, I am exploring how host genetic background induces or suppresses inflammation in the gut and how those changes result in differential susceptibility to pathogens due to, or concurrent with, changes in microbiota membership. I am building a diverse research program that incorporates several aspects of host-microbe interactions. This will enable me to mentor students interested in fields as diverse as bacteriology, immunology, systems biology, bioinformatics, ecology, and pathogenic microbiology

Publications

Publications related to host-microbiota interactions

Milligan-Myhre, K., Charette, J.R., Phennicie, R.T., Stephens, W.Z., Rawls, J.F., Guillemin, K. and Kim, C.H. (2011) Study of Host-Microbe Interactions in Zebrafish. In Methods in Cell Biology (The Zebrafish: Disease Models and Chemical Screens 3rd Edition), Elsevier. 105, 87-116. PMID: 21951527
Stagaman, K., Guillemin, K., Milligan-Myhre, K. (2014) Tending a complex microbiota requires major immune complexity. Molecular Ecology. (19), 4679-81. PMID: 2263404
Milligan-Myhre, K., Small, C.M., Mittge, E.K., Currey, M., Agarwal, M., Cresko, W.A., Guillemin, K. (2015) Innate immune responses to gut microbiota differ in closely related threespine stickleback fish populations. Accepted in Disease Models and Mechanisms.

Publications related to Toxoplasma gondii

Milligan-Myhre, K., Rooney, P.J., Knoll, L.J. (2011) Examination of a virulence mutant uncovers the ribosome biogenesis regulatory protein of Toxoplasma gondii. Journal of Parasitology. 97(6), 1173-7. PMID: 21736491
Milligan-Myhre, K., Knoll, LJ. Disruption of a conserved hypothetical protein in Toxoplasma gondiicauses a pathogenesis defect. In preparation. 

Publications related to Staphylococcus aureus

*McNamara, P.J., Milligan-Monroe K.C., Khalili S., & Proctor R.A. (2000) Identification, cloning, and initial characterization of rot, a locus encoding a regulator of virulence factor expression inStaphylococcus aureus. Journal of Bacteriology. 182(11), 3197-3203. PMID: 10809700 *Published under K.C. Milligan-Monroe. 
McNamara P.J., Syverson, R.E., Milligan-Myhre K., Frolova O., Schroeder S., Kidder J., Hoang T., &Proctor R.A. (2009) Surfactants, aromatic and isoprenoid compounds, and fatty acid biosynthesis inhibitors suppress Staphylococcus aureus TSST-1 production. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 53(5), 1898-1906. PMID: 19223628

Career History/Work Experience

2015-Present: Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
2012-2015: Courtesy Postdoctoral Research Associate, Institutes of Molecular Biology and Ecology and Evolution, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
2010-2012: Postdoctoral Fellow, Institutes of Molecular Biology and Ecology and Evolution, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
1999-2002: Associate Research Specialist, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
1999: Independent Research Specialist, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
1998: Laboratory Assistant, Animal Health and Behavior Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
1993: Sample Handler, Cominco Alaska Red Dog Mine Site, AK
Other Experience and Professional Memberships
Honors
2014: National Science Foundation Travel Grant to attend the ASM Beneficial Microbes Conference
2010: ASM Minority Travel Grant to attend the ASM General Meeting
2009: Vilas Travel Grant to attend the ASM Beneficial Microbes Conference
2002: University of Wisconsin Medical School Deans Prize
Mentoring
2015-2016: Mentor, Emily Lescak, Postdoctoral Fellow; Foster Bimbaum, High School student; Erik Bolton, Undergraduate student; Co-Mentor, Karen Carlson, Masters' student
2010-2015: Mentor for Kat Burgoyne, Patrick Mazi, Marianne Henry, Karen Carlson, Felipe Campos, Meghna Agarwal, Heather Archer, Clarissa Zeller, Precious A. De Verteuill
2007-2009: UW-Madison Mentor for Rachel Bergquist
2006-2009: Ways of Knowing Biology Class Mentor
2006-2007: Biology Outreach Club
Memberships and Other Experience
2015: National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences
2014-2015: NIES Advisory Board Member
2013-2015: Co-chair for the University of Oregon Postdoctoral Association
2011-2015: University of Oregon Native American Strategic Plan Committee member
2010-2015: Instructor, Bridge of the Gods Summer Academy, Introduction to Microbiology Course
2001-2004: Wunk Sheek, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2001-Present: American Indian Science and Engineering Society, AISES; Co-chair of UW-Madison Chapter (2003-2004)