Profile for William Schwan

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William Schwan

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Specialty area(s)

Pathogenic bacteriology, drug discovery and preclinical testing, uropathogenic Escherichia coli virulence/gene regulation, Staphylococcus aureus virulence/gene regulation

Current courses at UWL

Pathogenic Bacteriology (MIC 407/507)
Global Impact of Infectious Disease (MIC 130)
Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenicity (454/554)


B. S. - Quincy College
M. S. - Iowa State university
Ph.D. - Northwestern University
Postdoc - University Wurzburg
Postdoc - FDA


Professional history

My background is in bacterial pathogenesis and host responses to bacterial infections. I have worked with a variety of bacteria during my professional career.

I typically have 3-6 undergraduate students in my laboratory during the semester.

Several of my undergraduate students have been co-authors on peer-reviewed journal articles.

Research and publishing

Currently, I have two projects that I am working on:

1) Regulation of type 1 fimbriae in uropathogenic Escherichia coli
I use genetic, molecular, and animal models techniques to explore the regulation of this virulence factor.
2) Staphylococcus aureus two-component system regulation of biofilm formation
This is a new area I am investigating that uses genetic, molecular, and animal models techniques to examine a new two-component system that we think regulates biofilm formation.

List of Recent Publications:

Schwan, W. R. 2022.  Proline transport and growth changes in proline transport mutants of Staphylococcus aureus.  Microorganisms 10:1888.

Zank, A.**, L. Schulte*, X. Brandon**, L. Carstensen*, A. Wescott**, and W. R. Schwan.  2022.  Mutations of the brpR and brpS genes affect biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus.  World J. Clin. Infect. Dis. 12:20-32.

Schwan, W. R., J. Luedtke*, Kathleen Engelbrecht, J. Mollinger*, A. Wheaton*, J. W. Foster, and R. Wolchak*.  2022. Regulation of Escherichia coli fim gene trancription by GadE and other acid tolerance gene products.  Microbiology (Reading) 168:001149.

Schwan, W. R., N. L. Flohr*, A. R. Multerer*, and J. C. Starkey*.  2020.  GadE regulates fliC gene transcription and motility in Escherichia coli.  World J. Clin. Infect. Dis. 10:14-23.

Wolf, M. J.**, H. R. Watkins*, and W. R. Schwan.   2020.   Ixodes scapularis: vector to an increasing diversity of human pathogens in the Upper Midwest.  WMJ 119:16-21.

Schwan, W. R. 2019. Staphylococcus aureus toxins: armaments for a significant pathogen. Toxins (Basel) 11:E457.

Bretl, D. J.**, A. Elfessi, H. Watkins*, and W. R. Schwan.  2019.  Regulation of the staphylococcal superantigen-like protein 1 gene of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in murine abscesses.  Toxins (Basel)  11:391.

Aswani, V., F. Najar, M. Pantrangi, B. Mau, W. R. Schwan, and S. K. Shukla.  2019.  Virulence factor landscape of a Staphylococcus aureus sequence type 45 strain, MCRF184.  BMC Genomics 20:123.

Dahal, M.**, and W. R. Schwan.  2018.  Management of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus-mediated ventilator-associated pneumonia.  Curr. Trends Microbiol. 12:95-107.

Schwan, W. R., M. T. Beck*, C. S. Hung, and S. J. Hultgren.  2018. Differential regulation of Escherichia coli fim genes following binding to mannose receptors.  J. Pathogens 2018:2897581.

Schwan, W. R. and H. Ding**.  2017.  Temporal regulation of fim genes in uropathogenic Escherichia coli during infection of the murine urinary tract.  J. Pathogens 2017:8694356.

Schwan, W. R., R. Polanowski**, P. M. Dunman, S. Medina-Bielski*, M. Lane*, M. Rott, L. Lipker*, A. Wescott**, A. Monte, J. M. Cook, D. D. Baumann, V. V. N. Phani Babu Tiruveedhula, C. M. Witzigmann, C. Mikel*, and M. T. Rahman.  2017.  Identification of Staphylococcus aureus cellular pathways affected by the stilbenoid lead drug SK-03-92 using a microarray.  Antibiotics (Basel) 6:17.

Sweeney, N. L., L. Lipker*, A. M. Hanson, C. J. Bohl, K. E. Engel*, K. S. Kalous, M. E. Stemper, D. S. Sem, and W. R. Schwan.  2017.  Docking into Mycobacterium tuberculosis thioredoxin reductase protein yields pyrazolone lead molecules for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.  Antibiotics (Basel)  6:1.

Schwan, W. R. , and K. J. Wetzel**. 2016. Osmolyte transport in Staphylococcus aureus . World J. Clin. Infect. Dis. 6:22-27.

Schwan, W. R. , J. M. Kolesar, M. S. Kabir, E. J. Elder Jr., J. B. Williams, R. Minerath**, J. M. Cook, C. M. Witzigmann, A. Monte, and T. Flaherty*. 2015. Pharmacokinetic/toxicity properties of the new anti-staphylococcal lead compound SK-03-92. Antibiotics 4:617-626.

Rentschler, A. E.**, S. D. Lovrich, and W. R. Schwan . 2013. OmpR regulation of the uropathogenic Escherichia coli fimB gene in an acidic/high osmolality environment. Microbiology 159:316-327.

Liu, X.-T., W. R. Schwan , T. J. Volk, M. A. Rott, M. Liu, P. Huang, Z. Liu, Y. Wang, N. C. Zitomer, C. Sleger*, S. Hartsel, A. P. Monte, and L. Zhang. 2012. Antibacterial spirobisnaphthalemnes from the North American cup fungus, Urnula craterium.  J. Nat. Prod. 75:1534-1538.

Schwan, W. R. , M. S. Kabir, M. Kallaus*, S. Krueger*, A. Monte, and J. M. Cook. 2012. Synthesis and in vitro evaluation of SK-03-92, a new drug with activity against Staphylococcus aureus and other Gram-positive bacteria. J. Infect. Chemother. 18:124-126.

Schwan, W. R. 2011. Regulation of fim genes in uropathogenic Escherichia coli .
World J. Clin. Infect. Dis. 1:17-25.

Wetzel, K. W.**, D. Bjorge*, and W. R. Schwan. 2011. Mutational and transcriptional analyses of the Staphylococcus aureus low affinity proline transporter OpuD during in vitro growth and infection of murine tissues. FEMS Immunol. Med. Microbiol. 61:346-355.

Shukla, S. K., M. E. Karow**, J. M. Brady, M. E. Stemper, J. Kislow, N. Moore*, K. Wroblewski*, P.-H. Chyou, D. M. Warshauer, K. D. Reed, R.Lynfield, and W. R. Schwan. 2010. Virulence genes and genotypic associations in community-associated methicillin-resistant and susceptible Staphylococcus aureus.  J. Clin. Microbiol. 48:3582-3592.

Schwan, W. R. , C. Dunek*, M. Gebhardt*, K. Engelbrecht**, T. Klett*, A. Monte, J. Toce, M. Rott, T. J. Volk, J. J. LiPuma, X. T. Liu, and R. McKelvey. 2010. Screening a mushroom extract library for activity against Acinetobacter baumannii and Burkholderia cepacia and the identification of a compound with anti-Burkholderia activity. Ann. Clin. Microbiol. Antimicrob. 9:4.

Liu, X.-T., A. L.Winkler*, W. R. Schwan , T. J. Volk, M. A. Rott, and A. Monte. 2010. Antibacterial compounds from mushrooms I: a lanostane-type triterpene and prenylphenol derivatives from Jahnoporus hirtus and Albatrellus flettii and their activities against Bacillus cereus and Enterococcus faecalis . Planta Med. 76:182-185.

Liu, X. T., A. L.Winkler*, W. R. Schwan , T. J.Volk, M. Rott, and A. Monte. 2010. Antibacterial compounds from mushrooms II: lanostane triterpenoids and an ergostane steroid with activity against Bacillus cereus isolated from Fomitopsis pinicola . Planta Med. 76:464-466.

Kabir, M. S., O. A. Namjoshi , R. Verma, R. Polanowski*, S. M. Krueger*,
D. Sherman, M. A. Rott, W. R. Schwan , A. Monte, and J. M. Cook. 2010. A new class of potential anti-tuberculosis agents: synthesis and preliminary evaluation of novel acrylic acid ethyl ester derivatives. Bioorg. Med. Chem. 18:4178-4186.

Shahjahan Kabir, M., K. Englebrecht**, R. Polanowski*, S. M. Krueger*, R. Ignasiak*, M. Rott, W. R. Schwan, M. E. Stemper, K. D. Reed, D. Sherman, J. M. Cook., and A. Monte.  2008.  New classes of Gram-positive selective antibacterials: inhibitors of MRSA and surrogates of the causative agents of anthrax and tuberculosis.  Bioorg. Med. Chem.  18:5745-5749.

Schwan, W. R., S. Shibata, S. Aizawa, and A. J. Wolfe.  2007.  The two-component response regulator RcsB regulates type 1 piliation in Escherichia coli.  J. Bacteriol. 189:7159-7163.

Burgess, J. W.**, W. R. Schwan, and T. J. Volk.  2006.  PCR-based detection of DNA from the human pathogen Blastomyces dermatitidis from natural soil samples.  Med. Mycol. 44:741-748.

* = Undergraduate student
** = Graduate student



William Schwan, Microbiology, authored the article "SK-03-92 kills intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis" in Antibiotics (Basel), published on Aug. 30 by MDPI.

Submitted on: Sept. 18



William Schwan, Microbiology, authored the article "Proline Transport and Growth Changes in Proline Transport Mutants of Staphylococcus aureus" in Microorganisms published on Sept. 21 by MDPI.

Submitted on: Oct. 4, 2022



Lauren Carstensen, Clinical Laboratory Science; Allison Zank, Clinical Microbiology; and Lillian Schulte, Amy Wescott, Xavier Brandon and William Schwan, all Microbiology; co-authored the article "Mutations of the brpR and brpS genes affect biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus" in World Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases published on Tuesday, April 26 by Basihideng.

Submitted on: April 26, 2022



Kathleen Engelbrecht, Joshua Luedtke, Jeremy Mollinger, Andrew Wheaton, Robert Wolchak and William Schwan, all Microbiology; and John W. Foster, South Alabama College of Medicine; co-authored the article "Regulation of Escherichia coli fim gene transcription by GadE and other acid tolerance gene products" in Microbiology (Reading) published on March 15 by the Microbiology Society.

Submitted on: April 11, 2022



William Schwan, Microbiology, presented "BrpR/BrpS: a new biofilm regulating system in Staphylococcus aureus" at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Food Research Institute on March 22 online.

Submitted on: April 11, 2022



Hua Ding, Clinical Microbiology, and William Schwan, Microbiology, co-authored the article "Temporal Regulation of fim Genes in Uropathogenic Escherichia coli during Infection of the Murine Urinary Tract" in "Journal of Pathogens" published on Jan. 24, 2018 by Hindawi. Hua Ding was an international graduate student whose Master's work contributed to the paper.

Submitted on: Jan. 25, 2018