Joyce Patrick obtained her Ph.D. from Indiana University Bloomington in 2011, where she studied gene regulation in motility and cell division in Bacillus subtilis. She and her research students conduct research on gene regulation in the soil bacterium B. subtilis. B. subtilis is well studied, but most studies are performed on a domesticated laboratory strain of B. subtilis. This laboratory strain has increased competence (the ability to take up free DNA), but lacks or exhibits altered forms of complex group behaviors such as surface motility, sporulation, and biofilm formation. The undomesticated, or wild, strain of B. subtilis exhibits swarming motility on surfaces and forms complex structural biofilms at media interfaces.
Professor Patrick uses modern molecular biology and classical genetic techniques to study gene expression and regulation. She is currently interested in regulation differences between the undomesticated and laboratory strain, focusing on differences in nutritional acquisition and utilization between the two strains.
Professor Patrick teaches courses in Molecular Biology and Microbiology. Among the courses she teaches are: BIO 250, Microbiology and BIO 315, Molecular Biology.