Profile Photo of Karl Aufderheide
Karl Aufderheide

Associate Professor Emeritus

Fax: 979-845-2891

Curriculum Vitae

3258 TAMU
Biological Sciences Building West
Room 101A

Biological Sciences Building West
Room 101

Joined the Department in 1979

  • B.S., 1970, University of Minnesota, Microbiology.
  • M.S., 1972, University of Minnesota, Cell Biology.
  • Ph.D., 1974, University of Minnesota, Cell Biology.
  • Postdoctoral research, Indiana University and University of Iowa.

Fellowships, Grants, & Awards

  • Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award, 1966
  • National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellow, 1968.
  • George T. Walker Award for undergraduate research achievement, Minnesota Chapter of Sigma
    Xi, 1970.
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Traineeship, 1970–1971.
  • National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, 1971–1974.
  • Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of research, $400, 1972.
  • NIH National Research Service Award, “Intracellular Motility in Paramecium aurelia,” #GM05331, $26,400, 1975–1977.
  • Texas A&M “Minigrants:” $300, 1980; $250, 1981; $450, 1984; $1,500, 1997.
  • NIH Biomedical Research Support Grant, “The Nuclear or Cytoplasmic Basis of Clonal Senility in Paramecium tetraurelia,” $3,375, 1980–1981.
  • NIH Biomedical Research Support Grant, “A Genetic Analysis of Trichocyst Development in Paramecium tetraurelia,” $3,500 plus $2,800 matching, 1984–1985.
  • NIH Institute of Aging Research Grant, “Nucleo-cytoplasmic Interactions in Aged Paramecia,” #AG02657, $77,679, 1981–1983; competitive renewal, $81,797, 1983–1986.
  • NIH Institute of General Medical Sciences Research Grant, “Genetic Analysis of Trichocyst
    Development in Paramecium,” #GM34681, $189,684, 1985–1989.
  • NASA Research Grant, “Conceptual Design for a Food Production, Water and Waste Processing, and Gas Regeneration Module,” Co-Investigator in Space Research Center, Texas Engineering Experiment Station, $86,000, 1986–1987.
  • Texas A&M University Office of International Coordination Enhancement Grant, $500, 1987.
  • Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Teaching Excellence Award, College Level, 1989.
  • NSF Grant, “Ninth Southwestern Developmental Biology Conference, March 21–23, 1991,” #DCB-9112864, $2,000, 1991.
  • Texas A&M University Interdisciplinary Research Initiatives Grant, “Characterization of a Nuclear Determining Region and Nuclear Determination,” #IRI 94-05, Co-PI with Edward Fry, $48,024, 1994–1995.
  • Member, NIH Special Study Section 2 (SBIR), March, 1995.
  • Biology Department Instructional Enhancement/Equipment Fee Award, “Portable Laptop Computer for Classroom Imaging,” $2,450, April, 2002.
    Faculty Development Leave (sabbatical), Fall 2007, Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University.
  • Inaugural awardee, Dr. Karl J. Aufderheide Excellence in Teaching Award, Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, May 2018.

Cell and Developmental Biology of Paramecium

The protozoan Paramecium tetraurelia possesses many characteristics which make it especially useful for a wide range of cellular and developmental investigations. This lab has studied several important biological problems using species of paramecia as research organisms.

A major project in the laboratory is the study of intracellular pattern formation in paramecia. The cell cortex is an extremely elaborate array of cytoskeletal and membrane components. This complex array must be duplicated each cell cycle. We are investigating the genetic and epigenetic contributions to the formation and maintenance of this complex patterned array. Current specific projects include a detailed investigation of morphogenetic activity in cells bearing cortical inversions and phenotypic documentation of inversions and normal cortex through genetic crosses.

In collaboration with Edward Fry of the Department of Physics, we are also investigating the applications of laser optical force traps (“laser tweezers”) to various biological phenomena in living paramecia. Using focused laser light in a microscope, it is possible to generate precise mechanical forces inside a living cell to trap and reposition small particles, without any apparent damage. During the sexual cycle of paramecia, the locations of nuclei in specific cytoplasmic areas is critical to the determination and later differentiation of those nuclei. We are currently using the laser tweezers to identify the spatial and temporal boundaries of the cytoplasmic determining areas by manipulating the positions of the nuclei during sexual reorganization.

  1. Janetopoulos, C, Aufderheide, KJ. The Conjusome-A Transient Organelle Linking Genome Rearrangements in the Parental and Developing Macronuclei. Microorganisms. 2023;11 (2):. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms11020418. PubMed PMID:36838383 PubMed Central PMC9962563.
  2. Aufderheide, KJ, Janetopoulos, C. Migration of Dictyostelium discoideum to the Chemoattractant Folic Acid. Methods Mol Biol. 2016;1407 :25-39. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3480-5_3. PubMed PMID:27271892 .
  3. Aufderheide, KJ. Refinements of and commentary on the silver staining techniques of Fernández-Galiano. Biotech Histochem. 2016;91 (5):352-6. doi: 10.1080/10520295.2016.1175665. PubMed PMID:27124374 PubMed Central PMC5113713.
  4. Zinskie, JA, Shribak, M, Bruist, MF, Aufderheide, KJ, Janetopoulos, C. A mechanical microcompressor for high resolution imaging of motile specimens. Exp Cell Res. 2015;337 (2):249-56. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2015.07.011. PubMed PMID:26192819 PubMed Central PMC4696872.
  5. Yan, Y, Jiang, L, Aufderheide, KJ, Wright, GA, Terekhov, A, Costa, L et al.. A microfluidic-enabled mechanical microcompressor for the immobilization of live single- and multi-cellular specimens. Microsc Microanal. 2014;20 (1):141-51. doi: 10.1017/S1431927613014037. PubMed PMID:24444078 PubMed Central PMC4026272.
  6. Aufderheide, KJ. An overview of techniques for immobilizing and viewing living cells. Micron. 2008;39 (2):71-6. doi: 10.1016/j.micron.2006.12.002. PubMed PMID:17251031 .
  7. Janetopoulos, C, Cole, E, Smothers, JF, Allis, CD, Aufderheide, KJ. The conjusome: a novel structure in Tetrahymena found only during sexual reorganization. J Cell Sci. 1999;112 ( Pt 7) :1003-11. doi: 10.1242/jcs.112.7.1003. PubMed PMID:10198282 .
  8. Riley, BB, Zhu, C, Janetopoulos, C, Aufderheide, KJ. A critical period of ear development controlled by distinct populations of ciliated cells in the zebrafish. Dev Biol. 1997;191 (2):191-201. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1997.8736. PubMed PMID:9398434 .
  9. Aufderheide, KJ, Du, Q, Fry, ES. Directed positioning of micronuclei in Paramecium tetraurelia with laser tweezers: absence of detectible damage after manipulation. J Eukaryot Microbiol. 1993;40 (6):793-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.1993.tb04476.x. PubMed PMID:8292997 .
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