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ecology; evolution; health; host response; microbiome


We are walking ecosystems, inoculated at birth with a unique set of microbes that are integral to the functioning of our bodies. The physiology of our commensal microbiota is intertwined with our metabolism, immune function, and mental state. The specifics of this entanglement remain largely unknown and are somewhat unique to individuals, and when any one piece of this complex system breaks, our health can suffer. There appear to be many ways to build a healthy, functional microbiome and several distinct ways in which it can break. Despite the hundreds of associations with human disease, there are only a handful of cases where the exact contribution of the microbiome to the etiology of disease is known. Our laboratory takes a systems approach, integrating dynamic high-throughput host phenotyping with eco-evolutionary dynamics and metabolism of gut microbiota to better define health and disease for each individual at the ecosystem level.


Institute for Systems Biology