School of Medicine
Our work focuses on genomic basis for the origin of novelty in microorganisms (how new processes and functions evolve). We are currently focusing on mutualistic symbioses involving microbes because such symbioses are one of the simplest and most important means for organisms to acquire new processes and functions. We are interested in the mechanisms through which such symbioses originate and are maintained and how symbionts communicate with their hosts or partners. We are studying a wide diversity of such symbioses ranging from single symbionts that live inside host cells to the thousands of microbes species that live inside the human digestive tract. Most of our research involves a combination of genome sequencing, bioinformatics and phylogenomic analysis, and high throughput environmental microbiology.