Viruses are the most abundant and diverse biological entities on the planet.
There are about one million viruses per teaspoon of seawater, and 10 million viruses per gram of soil.
Yet, we still have a very minimal idea about the contribution of viral infections to microbial diversity, metabolism, and ecology.
Our goal is to understand the interactions between bacteria and their viruses and the consequences of viral infections for bacterial interactions with hosts and ecosystems.
Funded NASA project
Our lab just got awarded a grant from the NASA Exobiology Program to investigate the roles of viral infections on biomarker production by sulfur bacteria. These biomarkers are important for understanding life on early Earth oceans and for searching for life on other planets.
This project is a large collaboration between our group and Dr. Alice Bosco-Santos (UniL), Dr. Bill Gilhooly (IUPUI), and Dr. Joe Werne (UPitt).
Natascha Varona wins Microbiology Art Contest
One of our grad students, Natascha Varona has won first place in the general art category of ASM Agar's art contest for her piece, titled "Ocean's Glow." This piece is inspired by her time spent doing fluorescent microscopy! Read more about Natascha's inspiration and see her piece featured on the ASM Agar website.
We made the cover!
Climate change and environmental degradation are causing a global deterioration of coral reefs. Large-scale restoration efforts are necessary to counter the environmental pressures relevant to climate change projections. This review, led by Christian Voolstra, aims to extend the natural adaptive capacity of reef-forming coral holobionts to manipulate coral adaptive responses to survive under more extreme or variable conditions. If tailored to address the diverse reef, environmental, and ecological conditions, these strategies hold the promise to be feasible and scalable to the real world.