Faculty Research Page

William Ludington

William Ludington

Bowes Research Fellow

Lab Homepage: http://mcb.berkeley.edu/labs/ludington/

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Research Interests

Ecosystems change over time. For example in a forest, trees fall, seeds grow, and forest fires burn. Microbial ecosystems experience similar fluctuations but on a much faster time scale. Taking advantage of the fast time scale and ease of setting up a controlled experiment, we study complex ecological dynamics that arise from microbial community interactions. Our research group investigates basic ecological principles in the context of the animal gut in order to understand the complicated and often complex relationship between microbiome and host. 

Current Projects

Ecological complexity in a model microbiome. The fruit fly gut carries ~10 microbial species, all of which are culturable in the lab. To understand the gut ecological basis for host health, we measure the relationship between species diversity and ecological stabilty in relation to several parameters of fly health. In collaboration with Carolyn Elya and Mike Eisen (UC Berkeley), this project uses a defined microbial community in gnotobiotic fruit flies to investigate the connections between the fly's immunology and behavior and the microbial community's ecological and evolutionary dynamics.

Phage-based enterotherapies. We are developing phage-based enterotherapies to drive ecological state change in the gut microbiome. Various parts of this work are in collaboration with Liam Holt, Kristopher Kennedy, and Richard Calendar (UC Berkeley).

Collaborations:

Role of the gut microbiota in canine autoimmune disease. The charismatic Norwegian Lundehund dog breed has severely limited genetic diversity and suffers from a highly prevalent (~40% of dogs) autoimmune disorder that causes gut and skin inflammation and may be linked to high neonatal mortality. In collaboration with Claudia Melis and Henrik Jensen at NTNU-Trondheim (Norway) and Carol Beuchat (UC Berkeley), we investigate the metagenomic (dog genome and microbial genomes) basis for this syndrome in the Lundehund.

Role of microbiota in human mental health. Links between mental health and the gut microbiome have been documented in humans and mice. Paul Hamilton (Laureate Institute) uses fMRI imaging to map mental illnesses in the brains of patients before and after treatment. In collaboration with Paul's group, we are analyzing gut and mouth microbiomes in these patients before and after treatment to document concurrent changes in the patient microbiomes with the goal of identifying microbial genes that correlate with health and illness. 

Selected Publications

1. Ludington WB, Wemmer KA, Lechtreck KF, Witman GB, Marshall WF. (2013) Avalanche-like behavior in ciliary import. PNAS. 110: 3925-3930

2. Ludington WB, Shi LZ, Zhu Q, Berns MW, Marshall WF. (2012) Organelle size equalization by a constitutive process. Current Biology. 22: 2173-2179

3. Ludington WB and Marshall WF. (2009) Automated analysis of intracellular motion using kymographs in 1, 2, and 3 dimensions SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7184 in Three-Dimensional and Multidimensional Microscopy: Image Acquisition and Processing XVI, Jose-Angel Conchello; Carol J. Cogswell; Tony Wilson, Editors. www.spie.org

4. Engel BD*, Ludington WB* and Marshall WF. (2009) Intraflagellar transport particle size scales inversely with flagellar length: revisiting the balance point model. Journal of Cell Biology. 187: 81-89. *co-first authors

5. Nyholm SV, Passegue E, Ludington WB, Voskoboynik A, Mitchel K, Weissman IL, and De Tomaso AW. (2006) fester, a Candidate Allorecognition Receptor from a Primitive Chordate Immunity. 25:163-173.

6. De Tomaso AW, Nyholm SV, Ishizuka KI, Palmeri KP, Ludington WB, Mitchel K and Weissman IL. (2005) Isolation and characterization of a protochordate histocompatibility locus Nature. 438: 454-459.

7. Ludington WB, Callicott KA, DeTomaso AW. (2004) Genetic variation in Mastocarpus papillatus (Rhodophyta) in central California using AFLPs.  Plant Species Biology. 19: 107-113.

Last Updated 2014-03-28