University of Connecticut

What we do

"There once was a squid in the sea
Who offered a microbe a plea
Come into my crypts
And play some light tricks
So my predators cannot see me"
-Sarah McAnulty

The goal of our laboratory is to understand the mechanisms by which animal hosts and microbial symbionts communicate with an emphasis on how components of the innate immune system may influence these interactions.

We use the symbiosis between the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, and the bioluminescent bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, as a model system to study the effects of beneficial bacteria on animal host tissues. This association has an advantage in that each partner can be raised independently in the laboratory and is readily available for molecular, biochemical, and genetic analyses.