Tian (Autumn) Qiu
Tian (Autumn) Qiu, Ph.D.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Host: Professor Michael Bowser
Exploring Molecular Mechanisms of Nano-Bio and Host-Microbe Interactions
The dynamics between the environment, host and microbes have huge implications for both sustainability and human health. Understanding the molecular basis of how microbiota impact the host response to environmental exposure are critical to develop effective strategies for risk assessment, pollution control and precision medicines. In this seminar, I will introduce my previous work on nano-bio and host-microbe interactions, building towards my future research program to decipher the molecular basis of the environment-host-microbe interactions. The rapidly advancing field of nanotechnology poses challenges for timely and predictive risk assessment of highly reactive nanomaterials being released into the environment. Focusing on an emerging nanoscale battery material, we investigated DNA damage as a shared toxicity mechanism in two bacteria and revealed unprecedented details on DNA modification after nanomaterial exposure as well as biological responses relating to DNA damage. Expanding my research to the host-microbe interactions, my current work investigates the role of D-amino acids, particularly D-alanine (D-Ala), as microbe-originated signaling molecules in the microbiome-gut-brain axis. Using nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and Escherichia coli bacterial mutants, I found impact of bacterial D-Ala synthesis and metabolism on animal phenotypes under normal condition and high glucose exposure. Using germ-free mice, I revealed biodistribution and sources of D-Ala in higher animals. As my previous studies have provided new biomarkers for nanomaterial risk assessment and indicated new targets for microbiota-mediated intervention of diseases, my future research will combine my previous trainings to investigate the molecular basis of the environment-host-microbe interactions.
Tian (Autumn) Qiu
Dr. Tian (Autumn) Qiu completed her BS in Chemistry at Peking University in 2012 and PhD in Chemistry at University of Minnesota in 2018. Her PhD work focused on understanding nanotoxicity mechanisms to environmental bacteria at the molecular level with bioanalytical tools in the laboratory of Prof. Christy Haynes as part of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. From 2018 to 2021, she was a Beckman Postodctoral Fellow at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, working with Prof. Jonathan Sweedler and other collaborators on exploring role of D-amino acids in the microbiome-gut-brain axis using animal and microbial models. She is currently continuing her work as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Sweedler Lab.