Dr. Joy Caughron


Assistant Professor
Office: 278 Center for the Sciences
Lab: 268 Center for the Sciences
Box 6931, Radford University
Radford, VA 24142
Tel: (540) 831-6486
E-mail: jcaughron2@radford.edu



Courses Taught

BIOL 103: Environmental Biology
BIOL 104: Human Biology
BIOL 334: Microbiology
BIOL 407/481: Microbial Ecology
BIOL 408: Principles of Microbiology
BIOL 460: Senior Seminar - Antibiotic Resistance in Microorganisms
BIOL 481: Radford Amazon Research Experience
BIOL 491: Directed Study and Research


I am broadly interested in microbial ecology, i.e., the interaction of microorganisms with their environment and each other.

In the past I have investigated the role of aerobic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract using a variety of techniques including:  fMRI, mathematical modeling, constructing chromosomal mutants of Escherichia coli, a commensal gastrointestinal microorganism, and 16S rRNA PCR and pyrosequencing of the microbial population of the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

More recently, I have begun to elucidate the structure of several membrane proteins in Clostridium difficile and Clostridium perfringens as they relate to mechanisms of disease.  This research involves protein isolation and manipulation including:  membrane fractionation, protein purification, and Western blots.  I hope to expand this research to include an in situ investigation of horizontal gene transfer of tcdE, which produces a putative phage holin protein thought to be involved in toxin release.

In the future, I would like to to continue my investigation of the microbial ecology of the gastrointestinal tract with molecular tools designed to explore the function of various microorganisms in this dynamic ecosystem.  The Human Microbiome Project has provided a wealth of new information to springboard exciting new research on the incredibly dynamic relationship between humans and our commensal microbiota.