In Microbial Ecology Lab, we are pursuing intriguing questions in the abundance, diversity, activity and interactions of microbes in various ecosystems including natural (soil and water) and biological (human) ecosystems. Even with the overwhelming significance of microbes in their abundance, biomass and contribution to the ecosystem services, systematic and comprehensive research has not been very abundant. With rapid advancement in molecular and analytical technologies as well as computational approaches, I am particularly interested in conducting research on, including:
• Characterizing and determining microbial communities of ecologically active sites (e.g., freshwater & salt marsh sediment, waste water treatment plant, human body etc), particularly in their temporal dynamics under natural and disturbance (e.g., pollution, climate change etc) circumstances.
• Understanding spatial distribution and scaling of microbial communities, particularly in their functional aspect (e.g., N cycle) using both target functional genes (e.g., amoA) and overall activity (e.g., ammonium oxidation).
• Linking diversity, dynamics and distribution of microbial community with environmental constraining factors (e.g., nutrient, pH, geographic distance).
• Expanding and validating of ecological laws (e.g., island biogeography, diversity-stability relationship) of macro-organisms into microbial systems.
Due to the multidisciplinary nature of my research interests, my research group is actively engaged with other research groups from biology, Environmental Science and Geology, as part of multidisciplinary research effort CRASR (Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Science Research) as well as other institutes through collaboration.
I am looking for graduate students not afraid of getting dirty at field and delicacy and frustration of lab works.
I have one project available for a motivated undergraduate in human microbiome for 2014-15 academic year. Please contact me asap if you are interested in and qualified (took BIO 4401).