Kenneth Nickerson
Kenneth Nickerson

Ph.D. University of Cincinnati, 1969
B.S. Rutgers University, 1963
Contact Information
E151 Beadle Center


Research Interests

a Microbial Physiologist and Biochemist with broad interests in bacterial, fungal, and algal systems. Active areas of research include: fungal dimorphism in Candida albicans and Ceratocystis ulmi; farnesol as a quorum sensing molecule (QSM) produced by C. albicans; farnesol’s mode of action as a QSM and as a virulence factor; anaerobic growth of C. albicans; urea metabolism in C. albicans and other fungi; biotinylated histones in C. albicans; chlamydospore formation in C. albicans; high cell density QSMs from diatoms and other algae; microbial ecology of alkaline lakes in Western Nebraska.

Past research areas included: Bacillus thuringiensis and other microbial insecticides, mechanisms of bacterial detergent resistance, and the physiological functions of polyamines in microbes.


  • 125. Nickerson, K.W. 2009. An essay on evolution: evolution and the origin of life are separate and distinct concepts, Lincoln Journal Star, Community Column, February 12, 2009.
  • 126. Jacobsen, L., L. Durso, T. Conway, and K.W. Nickerson. 2009. Escherichia Coli O157:H7 and generic E. coli share physiological properties associated with intestinal colonization. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 75: 4633-4635.            
  • 127. Navarathna, D.H.M.L.P., S.D. Harris, D.D. Roberts, and K.W. Nickerson 2010.Evolutionary aspects of urea utilization by fungi. FEMS Yeast Research , 10:209-213.
  • 128. Langford, M.L., A.L. Atkin, and K.W. Nickerson. 2009. Cellular influences of farnesol, a quorum sensing molecule from Candida albicans (a review). Future Microbiology 4:1353-1362.
  • 129. Langford, M.L., S. Hasim, K.W. Nickerson, and A.L. Atkin. 2010. Activity and toxicity of farnesol towards Candida albicans are dependent on growth conditions. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 54:940-942.
  • 130. Ghosh, S., N. Howe, K. Volk, S. Tati, K.W. Nickerson, and T.M. Petro. 2010 Candida albicans cell wall components and farnesol stimulate expression of both inflammatory and regulatory cytokines in the murine RAW26 macrophage cell line. FEMS Immunology 60:63-73.
  •   131. Navarathna, D.H.M.L.P., A. Das, J. Morschhauser, K.W. Nickerson, and D.D. Roberts. 2011. Dur3 is the major urea transporter in Candida albicans and is co-regulated with the urea amidolyase  Dur1,2. Microbiology 157:270-279.
  • 132. Strope, P.K., K.W. Nickerson, S.D. Harris, and E.N. Moriyama. 2011. Molecular evolution of urea amidolyase and urea carboxylase in fungi. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2011, 11:80.
  •   133. Ganguly, S., A.C. Bishop, W. Xu, S. Ghosh, K.W. Nickerson, F. Lanni, J. Patton-Vogt, and A.P. Mitchell. Zap1 control of cell-cell signaling in Candida albicans biofilms.  Euk. Cell, in press.
  • Semighini, C.P., J.M. Hornby, R. Dumitru, K.W. Nickerson, and S.D. Harris. 2006. Farnesol induced apoptosis in Aspergillus nidulans reveals a possible mechanism for antagonistic interactions between fungi. Mol. Microbiol. 59: 753-764.
  • 112. Jensen, E.C., J.M. Hornby, K.W. Nickerson, and A.L. Atkin. 2006. Farnesol restores wild-type colony morphology to 96% of Candida albicans colony morphology variants recovered following treatment with mutagens. Genome 49: 346-353.
  • 113. Plantz, B.A., J. Sinha, W. Zhang, L. Villarete, K.W. Nickerson, and V.L. Schlegl. 2006. Pichia pastoris fermentation: optimization of energy state and testing a growth associated model. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 72: 297-305.
  • 114. Nickerson, K.W., A.L. Atkin, and J.M. Hornby. 2006. Quorum sensing in dimorphic fungi: farnesol and beyond. (an invited review) Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 72: 3805-3813.
  • 115. Kebaara, B.W., L.E. Nielsen, K.W. Nickerson, and A.L. Atkin.2006. Determination of mRNA half-lives in Candida albicans using thiolutin as a transcription inhibitor. Genome 49(8): 894-899.
  • 116. Navarathna, D.H.M.L.P., J.M. Hornby, N. Krishnan, A. Parkhurst, G.E. Duhamel, and K.W. Nickerson. 2007. Effect of farnesol on a mouse model of systemic candidiasis, determined by use of a DPP3 knockout mutant of Candida albicans. Infection & Immunity, in press.
  • 117. Dumitru, R., D.H.M.L.P. Navarathna, C.P. Semighini, C.G. Elowsky, R.V. Dumitru, D. Dignard, M. Whiteway, A.L. Atkin, and K.W. Nickerson. 2007. In vivo and in vitro anaerobic mating in Candida albicans. Eukaryotic Cell 6: 465-472. This paper was selected by the Faculty of 1000, with a rating of 9 as an exceptional, landmark publication.
  • 118. Plantz, B.A., K.W. Nickerson, S. Ketchum, and V. L. Schlegel. 2007.Evaluation of metals in a defined medium for Pichia pastoris expressing recombinant beta-galactosidase. Biotechnol. Progress 23: 687-692.
  • 119. Navarathna, D.H.M.L.P., K.W. Nickerson, G.E. Duhamel, T.R. Jerrels, and T.M. Petro. 2007. Exogenous farnesol interferes with the normal progression of cytokine expression during candidiasis in a mouse model. Infection & Immunity 75: 4006-4011.
  • 120. Kebaara, B.W., M.L. Langford, D.H.M.L.P. Navarathna, R. Dumitru, K.W. Nickerson, and A.L. Atkin. 2008. Candida albicans Tup1 is involved in farnesol-mediated inhibition of filamentous growth induction. Eukaryotic Cell 7: 980-987.
  • 121. Shchepin, R., D.H.M.L.P. Navarathna, R. Dumitru, S. Lippold, K.W. Nickerson, and P. H. Dussault. 2008. Influence of heterocyclic and oxime-containing farnesol analogs on quorum sensing and pathogenicity in Candida albicans. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 16:1842-1848.
  • 122. Ghosh, S., B.W. Kebaara, A.L. Atkin, and K.W. Nickerson. 2008. Regulation of aromatic alcohol production in Candida albicans. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74: 7211-7218.
  • 123. Nickerson, K.W., and B. Plantz. 2009. Microbiology of Oil Fly Larvae, in Microbiology of Hydrocarbons, Oils, and Lipids (Ed. K.N. Timmis), Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, in press.
  • 124. Ghosh, S., D. Navarathna, D.D. Roberts, J.T. Cooper, A.L. Atkin, T.M. Petro, and K.W. Nickerson. 2009. Arginine induced germ tube formation in Candida albicans is essential for escape from murine macrophage cell line RAW264.7. Infection & Immunity, in press.