Margaret Steele

Margaret received her PhD from The University of Texas at Austin in 2020. She completed her dissertation research in Nancy Moran’s lab, where she studied interbacterial antagonism within the honey bee gut microbiota. Margaret joined the Queller/Strassmann lab as a postdoc in 2020. She is interested in discovering mechanisms through which bacteria interact with Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae to (1) evade predation and (2) persistently infect amoebae. As a phagocytic predator of bacteria, D. discoideum shares many characteristics with phagocytic cells of the human innate immune system. Studying interactions between bacteria and amoebae may therefore provide insight into how bacteria acquire the traits necessary to become successful intracellular pathogens of humans. Margaret’s research utilizes a combination of microbiology and molecular biology techniques, bioinformatics, and comparative genomics. 


Zheng, H., Steele, M.I., Leonard, S.P., Motta, E.V.S., Moran, N.A. 2018. Honey bees as models for gut microbiota research. LabAnimal. 47: 317-25. doi: 10.1038/s41684-018-0173-x 
Kwong, W.K., Steele, M.I., Moran, N.A. 2018. Genome sequences of Apibacter spp., gut symbionts of Asian honey bees. GBE. 10(4): 1174-9. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evy076. 
Steele, M.I.
, Kwong, W.K., Whiteley, M., and Moran, N.A. 2017. Diversification of type VI secretion system toxins reveals ancient antagonism among bee gut microbes. mBio. 8(6): e01630-17. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01630-17. 
Zheng, H., Powell J.E., Steele, M.I., Engel, P., Moran, N.A. 2017. Honeybee gut microbiota promotes host weight gain via bacterial metabolism and hormonal signaling. PNAS. 114(18): 4775-80. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1701819114. 
Zheng, H., Nishida, A., Kwong, W.K., Koch, H., Engel, P., Steele, M.I., and Moran, N.A. 2016. Metabolism of toxic sugars by strains of the bee gut symbiont Gilliamella apicolamBio. 7(6): e01326-16. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01326-16.  


2021 NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (PRFB)

2019   Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Award, UT Austin, Department of Integrative Biology            

2018   University Graduate Continuing Fellowship, UT Austin, Graduate School 

2017   Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31), National Institutes of Health (NIDDK)                                                                 

2017   Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Award, National Science Foundation