Unifying themes of our work

There are three overarching conceptual threads that characterize our research endeavors:

  • Integration (bridging hierarchical levels and tactical approaches)
  • Interactions (mechanisms and dynamics of interactions of cells/organisms with each other and with abiotic aspects of the environment )
  • Variation (consequences of noise, genetic differences, and fluctuations in populations)

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Our lab is interested in understanding the molecular basis for how mutualisms and symbioses evolve and the ecological forces that shape the formation of de novo symbioses and microbial consortia. We prefer to tackle these issues using a synthetic, forward approach and a set of novel, genetically tractable, fungal-algal model systems. If culture-independent, metagenomic/mirobiome sequencing is at one end of the proverbial "candle" of understanding microbial ecology, we try to burn the candle at the other end.

A broader interest of ours is to leverage both genomic and phenotypic data of sequenced organisms to better understand (and experimentally test) the capacity for novel species interactions, particularly in new environments.

(more details to come...)