Karina Winn

School of Biological Sciences
Flinders University

GPO Box 2100, Adelaide SA 5001

Email: karina.winn@flinders.edu.au

I am currently a PhD Candidate with Jim Mitchell, and David Bourne from the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Interests: Bacterial chemotaxis, Environmental/ Marine Microbiology, Microbiology, Molecular biology, Genetics, 

My Research Project: Vibrio coralliilyticus is a known coral pathogen of ecological importance for the health of coral reefs worldwide. Fundamental to understanding the pathogenesis and virulence of this microorganism is infection initiation by motility and chemotaxis, which controls the potency and speed of infection. To date there is little known about these initial infection steps. Using a three-pronged approach that incorporates bioinformatics, gene expression analysis and microscopy, this study examines the motility and virulence mechanisms of this pathogenic microorganism. Searching strategies were analysed for Vibrio coralliilyticus BH1 strain, using microscopy and video tracking. Variation in frequency, type of search patterns and speed was found between areas of high and depleted oxygen content providing evidence that these bacteria alter their searching strategies based on spatial and chemical gradients. In addition, we showed that different search patterns in areas of high oxygen content were linked with changes in speed and velocity. Furthermore, influential flagella motor and type III injectisome genes were analysed across differing chemical gradients to simulate environmental seawater changes. Obtaining a greater understanding of the steps involved in infection onset in V. coralliilyticus will aid management strategies for the preservation of corals worldwide and how this microorganism could behave in a warming climate.

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology 2006
Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology (First class honours) 2008