Patrick Stillson

I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the Ravenscraft Lab at the University of Texas at Arlington. My research is centered on using the bug-Burkholderia symbiosis as a model to better understand how different strains of environmentally acquired microbial symbionts alter host insect development and survival under varying environmental conditions. I am studying effects the symbionts have on the host by analyzing a symbiosis associated region of the Burkholderia genome, investigating how the Burkholderia symbiont may mediate host thermal tolerance, and how variation in symbiont gene expression may alter host development time and final adult size.

My research interests lie in 1) how different species/strains of microbial symbionts alter the benefits conferred to insect hosts in pairwise mutualisms, and 2) investigating how insect microbiomes alter host-insect fitness and their ability to spread disease. I conducted my master’s research at Michigan State University with Zsofia Szendrei, where I researched aster yellow phytoplasma and its potential insect vectors.