Our Team | Brad Borlee

brad borlee - headshot

Brad Borlee


Associate Professor of Bacteriology


Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology



Area of expertise: microbial colonization, bacterial physiology, biofilm dispersal, pathogen aerosols and pathogenesis

Microbes have an amazing ability to survive, disperse, and colonize new frontiers. Dr. Brad Borlee uses his expertise in the area of Molecular Microbiology to conduct research on opportunistic bacterial pathogens to determine how these organisms sense, respond, and adapt to changing environmental conditions. The core of the research in the Borlee laboratory is focused on understanding the behavior of bacteria in the context of survival, pathogenicity, and dissemination. His laboratory seeks to understand the physiology of bacteria growing as biofilms and how these bacterial communities sense changing environmental cues (e.g. temperature, nutrients, signal molecules, etc.) that trigger dispersal from those niches.  Dr. Borlee is currently studying the mechanisms of how bacterial saprophytes that reside in soil and aquatic environments are dispersed into the aerobiome where they pose a potential biological threat.

Potential Project areas to apply to: 

The Borlee laboratory focuses on bacterial physiology to understand the signaling that controls the production of extracellular polymeric matrix, which coats the bacterial surface. This matrix is crucial to how bacteria interact with biotic and abiotic particles and contributes to their ability to become aerosolized and survive as aggregates during environmental stress.

The proposed summer REU research project will sample air to determine the presence and viability of targeted bacteria. The primary goal is to study the ability of bacteria isolated from the atmosphere to respond and survive environmental stress (e.g. desiccation, temperature, and UV), form aggregates, nucleate ice formation, and disperse from surfaces. This research will have field and laboratory research components as part of collaborative studies within the BROADN program.