I am a postdoctoral associate working for Dr. George Weinstock and investigating the microbiome. Our knowledge of the 100 trillion microorganisms that inhabit the human body is still very limited, but the advent of next-generation sequencing technology has allowed researchers to start understanding what kind of microorganisms inhabit the human body and identifying the types of genes these organisms carry. As part of the NIH-funded Human Microbiome Project, our lab is focused on developing and applying the latest technologies to characterize the microbiome and its impact on human health. One of my main projects is metatranscriptomic analysis whereby we are attempting to characterize gene expression of an entire community from human samples such as stool and saliva. Gaining information on what signals or environmental factors can trigger changes in global gene expression of an entire microbial community may provide us with the tools to better treat certain types of diseases in humans. Another project I am working on is the Athlete Microbiome Project. We will collect stool and saliva samples from a cohort of highly fit professional cyclists in an attempt to understand how their microbiomes may differ from those of the general population. The goal is to characterize the species present, the genes they carry, and how gene expression is modulated in athletes who push their bodies to the limit.