Kevin Lauterjung

Position title: Biophysics Graduate Student


Room# 3153, Engineering Centers Building, 1550 Engineering Dr, Madison, WI 53706


Kevin comes to Madison from the San Francisco Bay area, where he switched into molecular biology after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Sound Arts. He worked in various research and technician positions focused on next-generation sequencing, at Children’s Hospital Research Institute Oakland, California Pacific Medical Center, UC Berkeley’s QB3 sequencing core, and 10x Genomics. He joined the Biophysics Ph.D. program at UW – Madison in 2016 and the McClean group in 2018.


As the importance of microbiomes grows, so too does our interest in understanding and engineering them. My work utilizes the capacity of bacteria to conjugatively transfer DNA to eukaryotic cells, using the genetically tractable Eschericia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae to fundamentally expand this capacity. Specific goals of this work are to increase DNA transfer rates, gauge the ability of transkingdom conjugation (TKC) to perturb microbial systems in situ, and to control TKC in time and space. This work could lead to a bevy of smart probiotics for wounds, soils, or guts, wherein living donor bacteria modify recipient fungi to direct their functions, under engineered control.

Tranah, G.J., Katzman, S.M., Lauterjung, K., Yaffe, K., Manini, T.M., Kritchevsky, S., Newman, A.B., Harris, T.B., and Cummings, S.R. (2018). Mitochondrial DNA m.3243A > G heteroplasmy affects multiple aging phenotypes and risk of mortality. Scientific Reports 8, 1–9.