Natural environments harbour a vast diversity of microbial species. Within these communities, microbes interact with each other both directly or indirecly through their shared environment. Such interactions are most often competitive due to competition for shared limiting resources or the production of compounds- e.g. toxins or antibiotics- that inhibit or kill competitors. But sometimes, microbes engage in exploitative or mutually beneficial interactions (mutualisms) by exchanging resources and/or services.
I am interested in understanding how such microbe-microbe interactions and microbes' interactions with their environment shape the assembly and dynamics of microbial communities, what are the consequences of these interactions for microbiome function and stability, and ultimately, how can we use this knowledge to manipulate microbiomes for improving health. I am currently a Research Scientist at Stanford University (Bioengineering). My PhD at the University of Edinburgh (in Sam Brown's group) and postdoc at the University of Washington (in Ben Kerr's lab) focused on using mathematical models and computer simulations to understand how interactions between individual species influence the emergent function and spatial organization of microbial communities, and what factors favor the emergence of microbial interdependencies. After moving to Yale as a postdoc (in Alvaro Sanchez lab), I combined experiments and modeling to understand how microbial communities assemble in simple nutrient environments. For more info on my current & past research, see Research and Publications.