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The Dishaw Lab at the University of South Florida is interested in how exogenous factors and secreted immune effectors shape the ecology of gut microbiomes. Our research leverages the invertebrate chordate, Ciona robusta, as a model for studying transkingdom interactions in the gut and how those interactions shape animal immunity (and how immunity shapes the ecology of the gut). We are focused on how these interactions shape animal development, which includes immune maturation. Our work translates into an understanding of the developmental ontogeny of human microbiomes by focusing on very low birth weight premature infants.

New Preprints! (
under review)

Prophages regulate
Shewanella fidelis 3313 motility and biofilm formation: implications for gut colonization dynamics in Ciona robusta. Ojas Natarajan, Susanne L Gibboney, Morgan N Young, Shen Jean Lim, Natalia Pluta, Celine G.F. Atkinson, Brittany A Leigh, Assunta Liberti, Eric D Kees, Mya Breitbart, Jeffrey A Gralnick and Larry J Dishaw. bioRxiv 2022.11.23.517592; doi:

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Our lab, Fall 2020-Spring 2021. From Left to Right to Row: Larry Dishaw, April Ellis, Natalia Pluta, and Adam Cruz. Botton Row from Left to Right: Ojas Natarajan, Celine Atkinson, and Morgan Young.
*This website is not an official University of South Florida website. Only the Dishaw Lab is responsible for its content.