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Jolene Ramsey

Assistant Professor

Ramsey Lab Page

Fax: 979-845-2891






312 BSBE



Joined the Department in 2022

  • B.A., Biology & Spanish, Western Colorado University. 2010
  • Ph.D., Microbiology, Indiana University Bloomington. 2017
  • Postdoctoral research, Texas A&M University. 2018-2022

How bacteriophage kill bacteria

Bacteriophage, also known as phage, are ubiquitous in the natural world as predators and modulators of environmental biomass cycling. At the cellular level, these bacterial viruses specifically recognize and infect their preferred host cells, turning them into phage replication factories. After a genetically defined period of time, phage progeny escape from infected host cells in a lethal lysis event. Phage research laid the foundations of modern molecular biology and they remain useful tools teaching us about the principles that govern cellular life. Since developing the methods to isolate phage over a century ago, humanity has been attempting to harness them as reliable therapeutics to kill their bacterial hosts. In the post-antibiotic era, the concept of phage therapy broadly applied has the potential to help us control pesky bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant pathogens, in a variety of contexts. To make this a reality, we need careful characterization of many phage varieties by scientists and open communication with stakeholders in many industries.

Underpinning our explorations of applied phage biology are the basic science programs studying the biochemical mechanisms, genetic diversity, and regulatory pathways that govern phage cell-killing capabilities. In the Ramsey lab, we will use molecular virology and genomic tools in both phage newly isolated from the environment and model phage systems to answer fundamental questions about how phage kill bacteria. We will approach this from several angles to learn about the role of phage proteins, factors that influence phage-host interactions, and how conserved those mechanisms are across phage and their hosts. What we learn from these fundamental studies of bacteriophage and bacterial cell biology can help scientists and physicians that aim to kill bacteria in clinical or commercial settings.

  1. Boeckman, J, Liu, M, Ramsey, J, Gill, J. Phage DNA Extraction, Genome Assembly, and Genome Closure. Methods Mol Biol. 2024;2738 :125-144. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-3549-0_8. PubMed PMID:37966596 .
  2. Gene Ontology Consortium, Aleksander, SA, Balhoff, J, Carbon, S, Cherry, JM, Drabkin, HJ et al.. The Gene Ontology knowledgebase in 2023. Genetics. 2023;224 (1):. doi: 10.1093/genetics/iyad031. PubMed PMID:36866529 PubMed Central PMC10158837.
  3. Feiss, M, Young, R, Ramsey, J, Adhya, S, Georgopoulos, C, Hendrix, RW et al.. Hybrid Vigor: Importance of Hybrid λ Phages in Early Insights in Molecular Biology. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2022;86 (4):e0012421. doi: 10.1128/mmbr.00124-21. PubMed PMID:36165780 PubMed Central PMC9799177.
  4. Chamblee, JS, Ramsey, J, Chen, Y, Maddox, LT, Ross, C, To, KH et al.. Endolysin Regulation in Phage Mu Lysis. mBio. 2022;13 (3):e0081322. doi: 10.1128/mbio.00813-22. PubMed PMID:35471081 PubMed Central PMC9239132.
  5. Feiss, M, Adhya, S, Georgopoulos, C, Hendrix, RW, Hatfull, GF, Gilcrease, EB et al.. Complete Genome Sequences of Lambdoid Phages 21, 434, and 434B and Several Lambda Hybrids. Microbiol Resour Announc. 2022;11 (5):e0012022. doi: 10.1128/mra.00120-22. PubMed PMID:35412353 PubMed Central PMC9119081.
  6. Ramsey, J, McIntosh, B, Renfro, D, Aleksander, SA, LaBonte, S, Ross, C et al.. Crowdsourcing biocuration: The Community Assessment of Community Annotation with Ontologies (CACAO). PLoS Comput Biol. 2021;17 (10):e1009463. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1009463. PubMed PMID:34710081 PubMed Central PMC8553046.
  7. Holt, A, Cahill, J, Ramsey, J, Martin, C, O'Leary, C, Moreland, R et al.. Phage-encoded cationic antimicrobial peptide required for lysis. J Bacteriol. 2021;204 (1):JB0021421. doi: 10.1128/JB.00214-21. PubMed PMID:34339297 PubMed Central PMC8765421.
  8. Corban, JE, Ramsey, J. Characterization and complete genome sequence of Privateer, a highly prolate Proteus mirabilis podophage. PeerJ. 2021;9 :e10645. doi: 10.7717/peerj.10645. PubMed PMID:33614267 PubMed Central PMC7881722.
  9. Talcott, A, Moreland, R, Ramsey, J, Clark, J, Hernandez, I, Liu, M et al.. Complete Genome Sequence of Streptomyces Phage Sentinel. Microbiol Resour Announc. 2021;10 (1):. doi: 10.1128/MRA.01339-20. PubMed PMID:33414325 PubMed Central PMC8407748.
  10. Ramsey, J, Rasche, H, Maughmer, C, Criscione, A, Mijalis, E, Liu, M et al.. Galaxy and Apollo as a biologist-friendly interface for high-quality cooperative phage genome annotation. PLoS Comput Biol. 2020;16 (11):e1008214. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008214. PubMed PMID:33137082 PubMed Central PMC7660901.
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