John Chaston

Postdoctoral Researcher

Department of Entomology


I am interested in understanding how hosts interact with their microbial partners at the molecular level, including mechanisms of partner recognition, selection, acquisition and specificity.  My doctoral work characterized bacterial factors necessary for host association and specificity in a model monospecific association (one host/one microbial partner). My goal in the Douglas lab is to interrogate host-microbe mechanisms of specificity and recognition from the host side by applying existing techniques and developing novel approaches to study fruit flies and their intestinal microbiota.

I expect that this work will help understand what host molecular mechanisms are at work in maintaining consortia of beneficial bacteria, and the extent to which a consortium is selected and recognized by the host, intra-consortial, and/other (e.g. environmental) pressures.

I received my PhD (Microbiology, 2011) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for work performed in Dr. Heidi Goodrich-Blair's lab, where I characterized host-association events and factors in nematode intestinal symbionts. I received my B.S (Microbiology, 2005) from Brigham Young University where I worked with Dr. Byron Adams on nematode genetics and biodiversity.  My CV is available as a download on the left sidebar of this page


John M. Chaston and Angela Douglas. Making the Most of Omics for Symbiosis Research. Invited review, Biological Bulletin. Submitted. 

Bhasin, Archna*, John M. Chaston*, and Heidi Goodrich-Blair. Mutational analyses reveal overall topology and functional regions of NilB, a bacterial outer membrane protein required for host-association in a model animal-bacterial mutualism. Accepted. J. Bacteriology. 20 Jan 2012

Adler R. Dillman, John M. Chaston, Byron J. Adams, Todd A. Ciche, Heidi Goodrich-Blair, S. Patricia Stock, and Paul W. Sternberg. An Entomopathogen By Any Other Name. Accepted. PLoS Pathogens, 27 Dec 2011.

Darby R. Sugar, Kristen E. Murfin, John M. Chaston, Aaron W. Andersen, Gregory R. Richards, James A. Baum, Steven Forst, Barry S. Goldman, William P. Clinton, Karina C. Krasomil-Osterfeld, Steven Slater, S. Patricia Stock, and Heidi Goodrich-Blair. Phenotypic variation and host interactions of Xenorhabdus bovienii SS-2004, the entomopathogenic symbiont of Steinernema jollieti nematodes. Accepted. Environmental Microbiology, 3 Nov 2011.

Chaston, John M.*, Garret Suen* et al. 2011. The Entomopathogenic Bacterial Endosymbionts Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus: Convergent Lifestyles from Divergent Genomes. PLoS ONE 6(11): e27909. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027909

Chaston, John M.*, Adler R. Dillman*, David I. Shapiro-Illan, Anwar Bilgrami, Randy Gaugler, Keith Hopper, and Byron J. Adams.  2011. Outcrossing and crossbreeding recovers deteriorated traits in laboratory cultured Steinernema carpocapsae nematodes. The International Journal for Parasitology. 41: 801–809

Goodrich-Blair, Heidi et al. 2010. Symbiosis research, technology, and education: Proceedings of the 6th International Symbiosis Society Congress held in Madison Wisconsin, USA, August 2009.Symbiosis. 51:1–12

Chaston, John and Heidi Goodrich-Blair. 2010. Common trends in mutualism revealed by model associations between invertebrates and bacteria. FEMS Microbiology Reviews. 34: 41-58

Adhikari, Bishwo N., Chin-Yo Lin, Xiaodong Bai, Todd A. Ciche, Parwinder S. Grewal, Adler R. Dillman, John M. Chaston, David I. Shapiro-Ilan, Anwar L. Bilgrami, Randy Gaugler, Paul W. Sternberg, Byron J. Adams. 2009. Transcriptional profiling of trait deterioration in the insect pathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora. BMC Genomics. 10:609

Adams, Byron J., Diana H. Wall, Ugur Gozel, Adler R. Dilllman, John M. Chaston, and Ian D.Hogg. 2007. The southernmost worm, Scottnema lindsayae (Nematoda): diversity, dispersal and ecological stability. Polar Biology. 30: 809-815.