Our research projects examine microbial communities related to

Microbes and Human Health


Microbe-Microbe Interactions in Nutrient Cycling


Microbial nutrient cycling

in Green Lake

Microorganisms drive many biogeochemical cycles in redox-stratified environments. We aim to characterize microorganisms involved in the degradation of complex organic matter and how these microorganisms contribute to the cycling of nutrients such as carbon, sulfur, and manganese in a permanently-stratified lake, like Green Lake.

The impact of climate change on microbial communities in permafrost

With an interdisciplinary team of scientists from the United States, Sweden, and Australia, we are studying how changes in microbial communities as permafrost thaws affect carbon cycling, particularly greenhouse gases.  This work is in collaboration with Professor Virginia Rich's lab at Ohio State University.


Anaerobic manganese oxidation

Microbial manganese oxidation has not been characterized in the absence of molecular oxygen and reactive oxygen species. In collaboration with the Bosak Lab at MIT, we are enriching for microbial communities capable of anaerobically oxidizing manganese in the presence of light in order to study the specifics of this biogeochemical process.

ECHO Project

We are investigating the effects of environmental factors on childhood cognitive development, by exploring the relationship between the gut microbiome and the brain.  With this project, we will address: 1. How brain growth is disrupted in response to specific environmental and genetic factors; 2. How patterns of early brain growth are associated with, and predictive of, the gut microbiome; and 3. How the immense variety of generic and environmental exposures we experience at each life stage, from prenatal to adolescence, shapes the gut microbiome and in turn, brain-cognition/behavior relationships.  This project is support by the National Institute of Health's (NIH's) Environmental influence on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) grant and performed in partnership with a number of collaborators.


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