Our cluster will develop the next generation of tools and capabilities to probe the molecular mechanisms underlying community interactions. We will manage, analyze, interpret and model the enormous amounts of data generated by microbiome studies and begin assembling synthetic communities. We will focus on microbial communities associated with crop plants, farm animals, insects and the environment. This focus builds upon NC State’s existing strengths in agriculture and biotechnology and will establish a research nexus in this field.
We will support NC State’s growth as an internationally recognized, multidisciplinary center of excellence in the analysis and engineering of plant, animal and insect microbiomes, as well as the complex microbial communities in soil and water environments. In turn, we aim to tackle myriad societal challenges in energy, sustainability, food security and health that trace back to microbial communities.
Life on Earth is sustained by microbial communities composed of bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi, algae and protists. These communities inhabit everywhere from the bottom of the ocean to the digestive tracts of insects. Those inhabiting higher organisms have been directly linked to plant growth and productivity, animal health and nutrition, and insect development. Other free-living complex microbial communities are the basis for applied microbial processes such as wastewater treatment, fermentation, bioremediation and biofuel production. NC State maintains the institutional capabilities needed to effectively study microbiomes and other complex microbial communities, including genome and metagenome sequencing, proteomics, bioinformatics, research greenhouses and germ-free animal facilities. Faculty also address the roles of microorganisms in a variety of environmental settings. The university will establish a core group of faculty who can integrate existing tools and resources and focus on characterizing, modeling and engineering microbiomes and complex microbial communities. Our work will bridge the gap between research and application.
Cluster News More New
Intestinal Virus Study Shows Major Changes Associated With Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Study comparing healthy and diseased mouse intestinal tracts shows some unexpected changes in viral communities.
Researchers Devise New Way to Discern What Microbes Eat
A new technique helps researchers take a more in-depth look at the metabolism and physiology within microbial communities and provides a more direct way to determine what food source a certain microbe has consumed.
Making Advancements in Microbiome Analysis
Researchers have been slow to embrace new tools which now make it possible to analyze microbiomes using exact DNA sequences without being overwhelmed by errors. Benjamin Callahan, associate professor Department of Population Health and Pathobiology and member of the Microbiomes and Complex Microbial Communities cluster, explains how this resistance is holding science back in an article for The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology.