PhD, 2014 Iowa State University
Applying microbial ecology and metagenomics to biotechnology and agricultural sustainability
Microorganisms harbor a wide range of traits that allow them to thrive and fill a diversity of niches across the planet’s biosphere. Continued innovation in sequencing technology has enabled us to sample microbiomes in the environment and those associated with higher organisms with unprecedented speed and depth. Despite access to copious amounts of data describing the genomes of microorganisms, little is known about their true function in the environment. Further, analyzing these datasets in a scale-able and meaningful way is challenging. Through my work, I determine the function of microbes and genes sampled through metagenomics to learn about organism-microbiome relationships and environmental microbiomes. I combine these data and data science methodologies to discover novel traits for biotechnological applications that will improve agricultural sustainability.