Our research projects examine microbial communities related to
HUMAN HEALTH and NUTRIENT CYCLING
Microbes in Wellesley
The Global Flora Project
The Global Flora is a new addition to the Wellesley campus which houses a wide variety of plant collections across different biomes: humid, temperate, and dry. We are exploring how microbes play a role in this diverse ecosystem. From characterizing the soil microbiome to investigating spore forming bacteria, we are interested in the relationships between soil microbial communities present in the recently renovated greenhouse.
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.
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.
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.