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Michael Olson, PhD

Assistant Professor


phone: 217.545.5200

Research Interests

Research focuses on the characterization of the biology of Staphylococcus aureus at the host interface. The first area of my research involves the characterization of a genetic locus that confers the ability of Staphylococcus aureus to use sialic acid as a carbon source, and studies how this utilization of sialic acid confers a host fitness advantage. This project is currently transitioning to studying other bioavailable energy sources. My second project involves the characterization of a novel quorum-quenching protein secreted by S. aureus. Current work involves elucidating the mechanism by which S. aureus is able to disrupt and alter genetic function of other bacteria, specifically S. epidermidis. Overall, understanding these polymicrobial interactions and the effects that bacteria have on each other will be used to gain insight into both human colonization and the dynamics of the human microbiome.


2009-2014 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Microbiology Carver College of Medicine - Iowa City, IA Mentor: Dr. Alexander R. Horswill, Ph.D., 2009 Ph.D. University of Nebraska Medical Center - Omaha, NE Microbiology Mentor: Paul D. Fey, Ph.D., 2001 B.S. University of Nebraska - Lincoln, NE Biochemistry and minors in Chemistry, History and Psychology


Characterization of a novel quorum quenching protein produced by S. aureus.
Submitted 3/5/14, Scientific Review 6/19/14. Impact Score 10.
Relationship: PI, Amount: $250,000