Contact Information
Office Location: EE Just Hall Room 222
Office Telephone: 202-806-6953
Laboratory Location: EE Just Hall Room 239/241
Laboratory Telephone: 202-806-4177

B.S., Xavier University, LA (2000)
Ph.D., Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (2008)

General Microbiology (220)
Environmental Microbiology (424)
General Biology - PHAGES Laboratory (BIOL101/102)

Research Interests
Microbial Ecology
Immune System-Microbiota Interactions
Environmental Micobiology
Polymicrobial Infections

Grants and Funding Awards
NSF, Howard University Science Teacher Certification Program, 2014-2019 Co-PI
NIH-NIDDK Research Supplement, 2008
University of Wisconsin Advanced Opportunity Fellowship, 2007
Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2006
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Teaching Fellowship, 2006
American Society for Microbiology Student Travel Grant, 2005
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Teaching Fellowship, 2003 and 2004
NIH Biotechnology Training Fellowship, 2001
University of Wisconsin Medical School Dean's Prize, 2001

Laboratory Personnel
Ingrid Harris - Graduate Student
Leslie McKinnon - Graduate Student

Research Detailed

Members of Dr. Courtney Robinson’s research group study the ecology of host-associated microbial communities. Model systems are necessary in order to learn about the complex interactions between hosts and their microbes, and between community members. Insects, like other animals, depend on their microbial communities for a number of functions related to host health.  Additionally, insects often contain relatively simple microbial communities.  The Robinson laboratory uses a number of insect models and techniques from molecular biology to study questions related to fundamental ecological concepts such as community response to invasion and perturbation, as well as the impact of diet and host development on the microbiota, host selection of microbial communities, and the role of microbiota structure in susceptibility to disease.

Selected Publications

Robinson, C. J., B. J. M. Bohannon and V. B. Young. 2010. From structure to function: the ecology of host-associated microbial communities. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. 74:453-476.


Robinson, C. J. and V. B. Young. 2010. Antibiotic administration alters the community structure of the gastrointestinal microbiota. Gut Microbes. 1:279-284.


Robinson, C. J., P. D. Schloss, Y. Ramos, K. F. Raffa and J. Handelsman. 2010. Robustness of the bacterial community in the cabbage white butterfly larval midgut. Microbial Ecology. 59:199-211.


Schloss, P. D., S. L. Westcott, T. Ryabin, J. R. Hall, M. Hartman, E. Hollister, R. A. Lesniewski, B. B. Oakly, D. H. Parks, C. J. Robinson, J. W. Sahl, B. Stres, G. G. Thalinger D. J. Van Horn and C. F. Weber. 2009. Introducing mothur: Open source, platform-independent, communitysupported software for describing and comparing microbial communities. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 75:7537-7541.


Broderick, N. A., C. J. Robinson, M. D. McMahon, J. F. Holt, J. Handelsman and K. F. Raffa. 2009. Contributions of gut bacteria to Bacillus thuringiensis-induced mortality vary across a range of Lepidoptera. BMC Biology. 7:11-19.


Borlee, B. R., G. D. Geske, C. J. Robinson, H. E. Blackwell and J. Handelsman. 2008. Quorumsensing signals in the microbial community of the cabbage white butterfly larval midgut. ISME Journal. 2:1101-1111.


Little, A., C. J. Robinson, S.B. Peterson, K. F. Raffa and J. Handelsman. 2008. Rules of engagement: Interspecies interactions that regulate microbial communities. Annual Review of Microbiology. 62:375-401.


Handelsman, J., C. J. Robinson, and K. Raffa. 2005. Microbial communities in lepidopteran guts: From models to metagenomics, p. 143 -168. In M. J. McFall-Ngai, B. Henderson and E. G. Ruby (ed.), Influence of Cooperative Bacteria on Animal Host Biology. Cambridge Univ Press, New York.