Picture of Charles W. Kaspar

Charles W. Kaspar

Professor of Bacteriology
Chair, Department of Bacteriology

Address: 1550 Linden Drive, Room 3554
Phone: (608) 263-6936
Lab Phone: (608) 263-5651
Email: cwkaspar@wisc.edu
Overview · Lab · Publications

Start and Promotion Dates

  • Assistant Professor: 1992
  • Associate Professor: 1998
  • Full Professor: 2002


BS 1980 University of Nebraska-Omaha
MS 1983 Iowa State University
PhD 1986 Iowa State University
Postdoctoral Research: University of Maryland

Areas of Study

Evolution and transmission of enteric pathogens

Research Overview

Our research is primarily focused on the transmission and evolution of two zoonotic pathogens, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and Salmonella. These pathogens reside in the intestinal tracts of animal hosts where they encounter diverse microbial communities, fluctuating nutrient levels, and myriad host factors.  Transmission between hosts requires these pathogens to survive varied environmental conditions. The general stress protection system (regulated by the alternative sigma factor, σs) is known to play a central role in environmental persistence and transmission. Acid and desiccation tolerance are two transmission-associated phenotypes that are dependent upon σs –regulated genes. We are also investigating the role of prophage in fitness. EHEC harbor multiple lambda-like prophage and cryptic phage remnants in their genome that facilitate genomic rearrangements, gene duplications, and deletions by homologous recombination. We are investigating how these phage-mediated genomic rearrangements influence the persistence of EHEC in its bovine host and the environment.  The goals of our research are to use results from these fundamental studies in the development of strategies to reduce pathogen transmission.


  • Microbiology 325: Food Microbiology