Most of life is too small to see with the naked eye.
Although their size is small, their effects on animals can be large. Microbes-bacteria and fungi-influence animals in many different ways. Beyond health or sickness, microbes can determine what animals are able to eat, which mates they find sexy, and whether or not a situation is stressful. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Beginning with the invention of the microscope, and thanks to the continued development of molecular and bioinformatics tools, we are now able to explore a whole new world that has always existed around us. My research focuses on describing and understanding this world.
I am a microbial explorer.
Broadly, I explore previously uncharacterized animal-associated habitats to understand what microbes are there, what may be structuring their community, and how their animal host may affect their community structure and dispersal.
Some of these findings have direct applications to our everyday lives, like novel antibiotics, and new beer flavors.
I am currently a joint Postdoctoral Researcher at North Carolina State University in the YourWildLife.org lab of Rob Dunn, and University of Colorado in the lab of Noah Fierer. Together we are interested in understanding the arthropod contribution to the microorganisms in houses. As humans, we spend most of our life in these built environments, and yet we know almost nothing about the community of microorganisms and arthropods that live there with us. The first step in understanding the effects of these communities on our daily lives is figuring out what is there. This is where our adventure begins.
*Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or Sloan Foundation.