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Scott Dawson

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
University of California
237 Briggs Hall
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 752-3633

Biographical Information

  • 2000 PhD University of California - Berkeley Molecular and Cell Biology
  • 1989 BS University of Michigan Biology


Scott Dawson's lab in the Microbiology Dept. of University of California, Davis, is interested in the evolution and function of the cytoskeleton in anaerobic protists. They investigate the mechanism by which the widespread protistan parasite Giardia lambia to the attaches to host intestinal villi using novel MT-based structure termed the “ventral disc”. The lab employs multiphasic approaches to define the primary structural elements of the ventral disc at high resolution, to identify and analyze disc protein function, and to quantify attachment dynamics and test attachment hypotheses using high resolution live imaging. Giardia also has eight flagella organized into four pairs that are critical for motility,cell division and possibly for excystation. The lab members are interested in how (and why) the eight Giardia flagella are uniquely specified in their function. Lastly, few genomes of free-living microbial eukaryotes are sequenced, despite their critical importance in ecology, evolution, and basic cellular biology. The lab is also interested in early eukaryotic evolution, and has been involved in the recent sequencing and analysis of the genomes of the free-living amoeboflagellate Naegleria gruberi and diplomonad Spironucleus vortens. They are currently using genomic approaches to investigate nature of the association between free-living anaerobic protists and methanogenic archaea in the bovine rumen.

Dawson lab group web page:

Selected Publications

  1. Woessner, D.J., and Dawson, S.C. (2012). The Giardia “median body protein” is a ventral disc protein that is critical for maintaining a domed disc conformation during attachment. Eukaryotic Cell (in press)
  2. Fritz-Laylin, L.K., Prochnik, S.E., Ginger, M.L., Dacks, J., Carpenter, M.L., Field, M.C., Kuo, A., Paredez, A., Chapman, J., Pham, J.K., Shengqiang, S., Neupane, R., Cipriano, M.J., Mancuso, J., Tu, H., Salamov, A., Lindquist, E., Shapiro, H., Lucas, S., Grigoriev, I.V., Cande, W.Z., Fulton, C., Rokhsar, D.S., and Dawson, S.C. (2010). The genome of Naegleria gruberi illuminates early eukaryotic versatilty. Cell (in press).
  3. Hirst, M. B., Kita, K., and Dawson, S.C. (2011). ImmunoFISH of microbial eukaryotes: combining molecular and morphological information. PLoS One 6(12): e28158
  4. House, S.A., Richter, D., Pham, J.K., and Dawson, S.C. (2011). Giardia Flagellar Motility is Not Directly Required to Maintain Attachment to Surfaces. PLoS Pathogens 7:e1002167
  5. Hagen, K.D., Hirakawa, M.P., House, S.A., Schwartz, C.L., Pham, J.K., Cipriano, M.J., De La Torre, M.J., Sek, A.C., Du, G., Forsythe, B.M., Dawson, S.C. (2011). Novel structural components of the ventral disc and lateral crest in Giardia intestinalis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 5(12): e1442