Biosciences Graduate Program

David R. Soll, PhD


Professor of Biology

Contact Information

Office: 302 BBE
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-117

Web: More About Dr. Soll - Related Websites and Resources


BA, Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
MA, Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
PhD, Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Post Doctorate, Molec & Develop Biol, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Informatics

Research Summary

Our research interests can be separated into three general areas. First, we are interested in how infectious microorganisms like Candida albicans become pathogenic. We discovered in 1985 that these organisms switch frequently, reversibly and spontaneously between a limited number of phenotypes. Switching in C. albicans differs from switching in other infectious microorganisms in the level of pleiotropy effected by the switch. In C. albicans, cell morphology, ultrastructural organization, gene expression and most identified virulence traits are affected by a reversible switch. We have, therefore, developed a reverse genetic strategy to identify the switching mechanism. We believe that switching occurs at one locus which regulates the expression of phase-specific trans-acting factors. Identification and characterization of such a locus will have broad therapeutic implications for yeast-related diseases, and is the main focus of our research. Recently, it was discovered that switching from the white to opaque phenotype is regulated by mating type locus zygosity and mating is dependent on switching. In our second project, we are interested in understanding the role of the myosins and other actin-associated proteins in the process of pseudopod extension, cellular motility and chemotaxis. Using Dictyostelium mutants which lack specific cytoskeletal elements and regulatory molecules and computer-assisted 2D and 3D motion analysis systems developed in our lab to characterize defective mutant behaviors, we are in the process of characterizing the individual roles of a number of actin-associated proteins and regulatory cascades emanating from chemotactic receptor occupancy. We have also begun to analyze overproducers of select cytoskeletal components in order to identify the rate-limiting components for pseudopod extension. Finally, we have been involved in developing computer-assisted 3D reconstruction and motion analysis systems for the analysis of cells and embryos.

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48