Assistant Professor, Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy
Heather Bean and her research team in the School of Life Sciences study the metabolomes of the polymicrobial communities in chronic lung infections, utilizing advanced chromatographic and mass spectrometry methods in untargeted metabolomics analyses. They have specific interests in identifying metabolites that correspond to the dominant infection species, clinically-relevant infection phenotypes, microbe-microbe interactions, and host-microbiome interactions in the lung. The goals of this work are to translate these metabolites into biomarkers for diagnosing and characterizing chronic lung infections, and to identify new therapeutic targets for managing or eradicating the microbial communities in the lung.
Assistant Research Professor, Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics
My research labs interests focus on microbial systems biology and microbiome, which are based on this following perception. Life on earth originated from and has evolved in our technically inanimate chemical nature (in the universe), which is governed fundamentally by physical and chemical laws of energy and mass. As a self-sustaining biochemical machinery to varying degrees, organisms of three life domains (archaea, bacteria, and eukaryota) utilize resources (e.g., energy and mass) as populations but more prevalently within a community for life proliferation and evolution.
Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences
Hinsby Cadillo–Quiroz studies how microbes participate in ecosystem and applied processes. He and his research team are investigating whether microbe-mediated organismal and environmental interactions drive ecosystem processes, particularly carbon cycling. The Cadillo lab has a dual affiliation between the School of Life Sciences and the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute.
Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences
Gillian Gile studies the diversity and evolution of microbial eukaryotes, otherwise known as protists. Despite their microscopic size, protists are more closely related to plants and animals than to bacteria, and they play important roles in ecosystems such as soil and marine plankton. Dr. Gile is particularly interested in protists that live in termite hindguts and digest wood. She uses comparative genomics, phylogenetics, and microscopy to understand the origin and evolutionary dynamics of the termite microbiome.
Associate Professor, The Biodesign Institute, Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology
Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown is currently an associate professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and is part of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology in the Biodesign Institute. The Krajmalnik-Brown Laboratory uses strong microbiological skills, genomic techniques, and environmental engineering to carry out research in biodegradation of water contaminants, such as nitrate, perchlorate and chlorinated organics, biotechnology for renewable bioenergy production and microbial ecology in the human gut and its relationship with human diseases.
Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences
Efrem Lim is a virologist who uses the tools of virus discovery to study host-virus interactions in health and disease. The Lim lab studies interactions and evolution of the human virome in development and immunity. They are particularly interested in understanding how the virome shapes the trajectory of infant development, how metagenomic changes induced by immunosuppression affect transplant outcome, and how viruses temper the homeostasis of the urinary tract.
Professor, School of Life Sciences
Susanne Neuer’s research bridges biogeochemistry and plankton ecology and is focused on the biological carbon pump, its relationship to plankton community composition and surface productivity, the role of Saharan desert dust and deep particle advection.
Neuer has participated in more than 25 cruises, five as chief scientist. Her research group has published articles on the biological carbon pump and nutrient budgets of the eastern and western subtropical Atlantic. They have applied DNA-based molecular techniques to help decipher the contributors to particle flux. Her group also studies the role of sea ice organisms in the carbon cycle of the Arctic.
She teaches oceanography, ecology, environmental life sciences and marine biology.
Professor, Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy
Cheryl Nickerson studies the effects of biomechanical forces on living cells (microbial and human), how this response is related to normal cellular homeostasis or infectious disease, and its translation to clinical applications. She and her lab have developed several innovative model systems to study these processes including 3-D organotypic models of human tissues that mimic the structure and function of in vivo tissues and their application to study the host-pathogen interaction that leads to infectious disease.
Professor Nickerson and her research team also investigate the response of microbial pathogens to biomechanical forces they encounter in the infected host, as well as in the microgravity environment of spaceflight. Her research has flown on numerous NASA Shuttle missions, the International Space Station, and continues on SpaceX flight experiments.
Assistant Professor, CLS Poly Science and Math
C. Ryan Penton is a microbial ecologist interested in establishing linkages between microbial (bacterial and fungal) functional community structure and abundances with biogeochemical and plant disease processes. His research addresses bacterial and fungal functional guilds that impact ecosystem processes across spatial and temporal scales, from the local to the global. Other interests include improving primer coverage for next-next generation sequencing and high throughput quantitative PCR (qPCR) for functional genes involved in nitrogen and carbon cycling.
Associate Dean for Research and Professor, College of Nursing and Health Innovation
Elizabeth Reifsnider's current research involve the public health nursing interventions to improve the nutrition and growth of pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, especially regarding breastfeeding and prevention of failure to thrive and overweight/obesity.
Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration and School of Molecular Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Everett Shock and his students in the GEOPIG lab explore life as a planetary process. They combine field and lab measurements with thermodynamic models and rate experiments to evaluate the flow of energy and matter between geochemistry and biochemistry. The results yield quantitative predictions about how planets support life that are tested in hot-spring and serpentinizing ecosystems where reactions between water and rock supply energy and nutrients to microbial communities. New projects will characterize the limits of photosynthesis in Yellowstone hot springs, the temperature limits of subsurface life in subduction zones, and the potential habitability of Ocean Worlds including Europa and Enceladus.
Shock has joint faculty appointments in the School of Earth & Space Exploration and the School of Molecular Sciences, and serves as Co-Director of the Environmental Life Science Graduate Program.
Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences and Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics
Abhishek Shrivastava develops experimental and theoretical tools to solve questions related to the microbiome, biofilms, collective motion, chemotaxis, molecular motors and protein secretion. One major focus of the Shrivastava lab is to figure out the factors that shape the spatial structure of human microbial communities. They found that motile microbes of the phylum Bacteroidetes that are abundant in the human oral microbiome carry other non-motile bacteria as cargo and shape developing biofilms. Alongside, they also found a molecular rack and pinion machinery that couples with a bacterial Type IX secretion system and enables surface navigation. To carry out this research, they received a K99/R00 award from the NIH.
School of Life Sciences
Arvind Varsani is a molecular virologist who works across ecosystems from plants to animals and from the tropics to the Antarctic. His research uses a combination of traditional virology, microscopy (including transmission electron microscopy), molecular and cellular biology techniques in conjunction with modern sequencing techniques, synthetic biology and bioinformatics to characterise viruses and understand their dynamics.
Studies over the last decade have shown that viruses are the most common and abundant entities on earth, yet very little is known about their evolutionary dynamics and roles in ecosystems. Our current knowledge of viruses is heavily biased to those that cause disease in humans, animals and plants. This knowledge equates to a very small portion of the viral diversity on the planet and hence a very minute fraction of the virome associated with humans, animals and plants. Over the last decade Arvind Varsani and his collaborators have focused on addressing diversity, demographics and evolutionary dynamics of viral communities in various ecosystems.
Assistant Professor, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion
Corrie Whisner’s research aims to understand how diet impacts the intestinal microbiome and how microbes interact with nutrients to improve health. The common thread throughout all of her work is the importance of nutrition for optimal development during intense periods of growth and development. Using stable isotope methodologies, she has completed clinical trials with prebiotic fibers to improve calcium absorption and bone health during the adolescent growth spurt. More recently, she has been working with collaborators to study how the intestinal microbiome changes throughout the freshman year of college in relation to weight gain and lifestyle behaviors that are unique to the college experience.