We endeavor to understand the principles that shape interactions between animals, microbes, and viruses and the basic and translational outcomes of these interactions. We employ hypothesis-driven approaches to study two forms of animal-microbe associations: intimate symbioses (between animals, obligate intracellular bacteria and bacteriophages) that impact animal reproduction and vector control, and facultative associations (between free-living organisms) that shape genome evolution across the tree of life. Our scholarship leverages a wide range of symbiosis expertise spanning virology, bacteriology, zoology, embryology, genetics, genomics, transcriptomics, ecology, evolution, development, and biochemistry.
Key questions that drive basic and translational outcomes are:
January 2018 - New at Genome Biology and Evolution. Evolutionary genetics of cytoplasmic incompatibility genes cifA and cifB in prophage WO of Wolbachia. Collaboration with Irene Newton lab.
December 2017 - New at Molecular Ecology. Microbial communities exhibit host species distinguishability and phylosymbiosis along the length of the gastrointestinal tract. Collaboration with Kevin Kohl and Denise Dearing.
February 2017 - Prophage WO genes recapitulate and enhance Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility. Nature. With undergraduate co-author, Emily Layton. Select coverage: