Microbial Genomics Lab

The Gibbons Lab @UMass is located in the Department of Food Science. The genome is a dynamic system that stores the genetic information responsible for life’s diversity. Our research team focuses on better understanding how evolutionary forces shape the genome, and how these forces affect organismal phenotypes. Our group primarily focuses on microbes (specifically, molds and bacteria) because of their significant beneficial and detrimental impacts on human society. We use genomics and molecular biology to study industrial microbes used in the production of traditionally fermented foods, as well as deadly environmental and foodborne pathogens. Our work comprises of both theoretical and applied components, and our interests center on addressing the following specific research questions:

How has domestication influenced the genomes and phenotypes of fungi?

What is the genetic basis of Aspergillus fumigatus pathogenicity?

What is the genetic basis of stress tolerance in Listeria monocytogenes?

Left to Right: Kim Acevedo (PhD candidate OEB, Colin McCarthy (Master's Food Science), Victoria Donescu (undergrad Nutrition), Julia Hershelman (undergrad Microbiology), Katherine Chacon-Vargas (PhD candidate MCB), Tyler Bechtel (PhD candidate Food Science), Cristina Ford (MCB rotation student), and John Gibbons