Influence of insect-associated microbes on host phenotype
The Kang Laboratory has a broad interest in the mechanisms that underlie animal-microbiome interactions, with a primary goal of applying this knowledge in the control of insect pests. We employ a suite of molecular, genetic, and genomic approaches to study how microbes influence the performance of the insect host. Further, we are interested in how the environment interacts with insect genomes to influence their physiological processes and phenotypes. This thinking extends to consideration of how the host serves as an environment for associated microbes. We explore how complex microbial communities and insect hosts influence each other, what factors mediate these interactions, and how well microbes that impart beneficial or detrimental traits to the insect persist within the host.