Jennifer Knack

Department of Botany

University of Wisconsin

430 Lincoln Drive

Madison, WI 53706-1381

Office: 210 Birge Hall


Educational background:
B.S. in Microbiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009
M.S. in Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011

Research interests:
microbiomes of freshwater algae
metagenomics and sequence analysis

Graham, L. E. et al. Lacustrine Nostoc (Nostocales) and associated microbiome generate a new type of modern clotted microbialite. Journal of Phycology, in press, doi:10.1111/jpy.12152 (2014).
Chaston, J. M. et al. The entomopathogenic bacterial endosymbionts Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus: convergent lifestyles from divergent genomes. PLoS One 6, e27909, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027909 (2011).

I was born and raised in Janesville, just 40 miles south-southeast of Madison. I did my undergraduate and graduate studies at UW-Madison in the Bacteriology department, which has a long, renowned history and is consistently recognized as one of the best microbiology departments in the country. My undergraduate work was done at the USDA Dairy Forage Research Center, where I helped perform SNP analysis in red clover, and aided in creating transgenic lines of alfalfa. My graduate word was done in Heidi Goodrich-Blair’s lab in Bacteriology, where I studied a putative protein toxin in the entomopathogenic bacterium Xenorhabdus nematophila.

Symbioses, especially mutualisms, have intrigued me since my undergraduate studies. While human-centric symbioses are interesting, I feel that these have been over-represented in research. This is a big reason why I enjoy working for Linda; algal systems have been grossly underrepresented in research, especially freshwater algae, but their potential uses, as well as the knowledge one can uncover from studying them, are vast. Most of my work centers on in silico analyses, with molecular work thrown in.

When I’m not dropping the science, I can often be found slaying my enemies (i.e. playing RPGs) or volunteering with local cat rescues.