Bob Blasdel is a PhD student supervised by Rob Lavigne in the Laboratory of Gene Technology at KU Leuven studying the transcriptomes of bacteriophage infected Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells through RNA-Seq analysis. Specifically, he is interested in how bacteriophage orchestrate the transition from the host metabolism to a viral metabolism conducive to producing phage progeny. To this end, he is using RNA-Seq and other techniques to more deeply describe how bacteriophage organize the transcription of their own genomes over the course of infection as well as see how phage infection affects the transcription of host gene features.
He has an MSc in Microbiology from The Ohio State University where he was supervised by Steve Abedon in characterizing the susceptibility of bacterial micro-colonies to viral penetration and proliferation in agar media. He also has a BS from The Evergreen State College where he was supervised by Betty Kutter in exploring the nucleotide base composition of the bacteriophage CBA120 through radioactive labeling experiments and a novel assay exploiting specific patterns of restriction enzyme methylation sensitivity.
He is a board member of the PhageBiotics Research Foundation and has been active in coordinating the biannual Evergreen International Phage Conference since 2009. He is fascinated by T4 physiology, molecular genetics, why cows and other ruminants tend to align on a north/south axis, viral ecology and evolution, ambitiously experimental beer and wine projects, how nucleoid occlusion could possibly work, the mysterious intersections between biofilm ecology and defense against parasitoid DNAs in Pseudomonas, the intricacies of nucleotide substitution and modification of in phage takeover of cellular metabolism, and the therapeutic applications of bacteriophages.