Faculty Associate, Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics
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. The Gile lab also studies the evolution of plastids, which represent a microbial symbiosis so ancient that the protist and cyanobacterial partners have merged into a single organism.