Dr. Wilton received his BS degree in Biology from Queen's University and his PhD in Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Toronto. His doctoral thesis focused on characterizing the enzymatic function of bacterial toxins delivered into host cells to suppress immune responses. Following completion of his PhD, Dr. Wilton was a Cystic Fibrosis postdoctoral fellow at the University of Calgary, where he worked on identifying novel virulence strategies employed by Pseudomonas bacteria to evade or defend against the host immune responses.
Over the past forty years, educational research has identified that student mentorship promotes integration of individuals into both academic (university) and social environments leading to improved student grade performance, as well as long-term retention in challenging majors. These studies have informed current educational approaches where instructors incorporate upper-division "near-peer" learning assistants into their courses where they can act as mentors for the enrolled students. More recent research has demonstrated that the implementation of interactive "active learning" modules (including in-class clickers, peer-mentored discussion sections) into courses promotes improved student examination scores resulting in increased course completion.
My research focuses on the long-term impacts that peer-mentoring and course structure have on student affect (perceptions of belonging to the major, capacity to overcome and achieve goals, and values/identity as a scientist). My goal is to identify the mechanisms by which these interventions promote student success, such that they can be applied more broadly to other courses and majors across universities.
Mike Wilton, Daniel Katz, Anthony Clairmont, Eduardo Gonzalez-Nino, Kathy R. Foltz, and Rolf E. Christoffersen. "Improving Academic Performance and Retention of First-Year Biology Students through a Scalable Peer Mentorship Program." CBE—Life Sciences Education 20, no. 4 (2021): ar63.
Mike Wilton, Eduardo Gonzalez-Nino, Peter McPartlan, Zach Terner, Rolf Christoffersen, and Joel Rothman. 2019. “A highly structured Introductory Biology Class promotes underrepresented student success and persistence.” CBE Life Sciences Education. 18(4), 18:ar53, 1–13, https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.18-08-0155
Mike Wilton, Tyler W.R. Halverson, Laetitia Charron-Mazenod, Michael D. Parkins, and Shawn Lewenza. 2018. “Secreted phosphatase and deoxyribonuclease are required by Pseudomonas aeruginosa to defend against neutrophil extracellular traps.” Infection and Immunity. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00403-18
Mike Wilton*, Megan J. Q. Wong*, Le Tang, Xiaoye Liang, Richard Moore, Michael D. Parkins, Shawn Lewenza, Tao G. Dong. 2016. “Chelation of membrane-bound cations by extracellular DNA activates the T6SS in Pseudomonas aeruginosa”. Infection and Immunity. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00233-16 (*co-first authors).
Mike Wilton, Laetitia Charron-Mazenod, Richard Moore, and Shawn Lewenza. 2016. “Extracellular DNA acidifies planktonic and biofilm cultures to induce aminoglycoside resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 9;60(1):544-53. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01650-15
Xiaoye Liang, Richard Moore, Mike Wilton, Megan Wong, Lihn Lam, Tao Dong. 2015. “Identification of divergent type VI secretion effectors using a conserved chaperone domain" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 112(29), 9106–9111, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1505317112
Mike Wilton*, Tyler Halverson*, Karen Poon, Bjorn Petri, and Shawn Lewenza. 2015. “DNA is an antimicrobial component of neutrophil extracellular traps.” PLoS Pathogens. 11(1):e1004593. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004593. (*co-first authors).
Jennifer D. Lewis, Mike Wilton, Adam Mott, Sarah Lu, Jana A. Hassan, David S. Guttman, Darrell Desveaux. 2014. “Immunomodulation by the Pseudomonas syringae HopZ Type III Effector Family in Arabidopsis” PLoS One. 9(12):e116152. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116152
Brenden Hurley, Jun Liu, Adam Mott, Mike Wilton, Yulu C. Liu, Stephane Angers, Gitta Coaker, David S. Guttman, and Darrell Desveaux. 2014. “The Pseudomonas syringae Type III Effector HopF2Pto DC3000 Suppresses Arabidopsis Stomatal Immunity.” PLoS One. 9(12): e114921. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114921
Jhadeswar Murmu, Mike Wilton, Ghislain Allard, Radhey Pandeya, Darrell Desveaux, Jas Singh, and Rajagopal Subramaniam. 2014. "Arabidopsis GOLDEN2-LIKE (GLK) transcription factors activate jasmonic (JA)-dependent disease susceptibility to the biotrophic pathogen Hyaloperonospera arabidopsidis, as well as JA-independent plant immunity against the necrotrophic pathogen Botrytis cinerea." Molecular Plant Pathology, 15(2):174-184.
Mike Wilton, Rajagopal Subramaniam, James Elmore, Corinna Felsensteiner, Gitta Coaker, and Darrell Desveaux. 2010. “The type III effector HopF2Pto targets Arabidopsis RIN4 protein to promote Pseudomonas syringae virulence.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 107(5): 2349–2354.
Mike Wilton, and Darrell Desveaux. 2010. “Lessons learned from type III effector transgenic plants.” Plant Signaling and Behaviour. 5(6): 746-748.