Microbes, like humans, live together in diverse communities where different individuals have different roles. Within these communities, microbes interact in various ways, including sharing nutrients like amino acids and cofactors. Some of the mechanisms of nutrient sharing are still unknown. In particular, how and why do microbes release valuable nutrients into the environment to share with others? The overall goal of this project is to discover the mechanisms by which bacteria evolve to provide nutrients to other species.
This project will be part of a larger effort in our lab to study how microbes share nutrients. The project will utilize a newly constructed model system to understand the basic rules governing nutritional interactions in microbial communities using engineered strains of the bacterium E. coli.
As part of a team, you will gain research experience in microbiology and learn how to culture, genetically manipulate, and measure bacterial growth when cultured alone or with a partner strain. You will learn techniques such as bacterial growth assays and molecular cloning. More importantly, you will learn how to design, execute, and interpret experiments, which will start you on the path to becoming an independent scientist.
No prior lab experience is needed, but a strong enthusiasm for lab research and intellectual engagement with the project are required. You should have three or more 3-hour time blocks per week available in your schedule for the entire semester. We encourage students requiring financial assistance to apply (please contact us about details).
Please include a few sentences about yourself in your application. We are not interested in your GPA but rather in your interests, for example what made you study biology, which courses did you enjoy most (again: not interested in grades), and what are you hoping to do with your biology education.