We seek to use diverse technologies like genomics, synthetic biology, and genome engineering to target and manipulate the microbiota for therapeutic purposes.
The long-term goal of our research program is to create new microbiome-based therapeutics for skin disease, with implications for a wide range of inflammatory diseases. Our lab is dually computational and experimental - we develop advanced algorithms and analyses using shotgun metagenomic sequencing data for the purpose of reconstructing the structure and dynamics of microbial communities, and we complement our genomic predictions with in vitro and in vivo experiments to investigate gene function, visualize microbes, or test mechanism of action. Much of our work is focused on the human skin microbiome, and we also study the gut and airway microbiota to better understand systemic and local interactions of the microbiome with the immune system.
Our lab’s basic framework is to use our computational approaches to create highly informative maps of the fundamental characteristics of healthy vs. diseased microbiomes, to use cultivation, CRISPR, and experimental models to test our genomics-driven hypotheses and to define a phenotype for individual microbes, then finally, to identify and create strategies to engineer the microbiome for therapeutic purposes.
Our current major disease areas of interest include: aging, skin disease, infectious disease, skin cancer, immunotherapy response and immunotherapy-associated side effects, chronic fatigue syndrome and other pro-inflammatory diseases.
Some of our research projects that span these disease areas include:
In these projects, we use diverse technologies such as metagenomics, comparative genomics, single cell, culturomics, imaging, metabolomics, CRISPR, synthetic biology, metabolomics, and high-throughput screening.