College of Science & Engineering
This research aims to understand how bacteria interact with their environments, pursuing a molecular explanation for the phenomena that define these relationships. Of particular interest is the biochemical interface between diverse bacteria and their hosts (humans and non-human primates, most often). To investigate these questions, this research uses techniques ranging from experimental microbiology and culture work, to biochemistry and mass spectrometry, to computational biology and data science. Current projects include gut and skin microbiome studies in collaboration with the Como Zoo in St. Paul, the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, the University of Nebraska, and Ithaca College. The researchers use next-generation sequencing, mostly performed at the University of Minnestoa Genomics Center, to investigate the structure and function of these microbial communities. High-performance computing is essential to these experiments.