Living in us and on us are trillions of microorganisms; bacteria, fungi, and viruses assemble into complex communities to form the microbiome. Across the biogeography of the human body exists distinct microbial signatures differentiating the gut, oral, airway, and skin microbiomes.

Our research is focused on the body’s primary environmental barrier: the skin. We are interested in understanding how microbial communities assemble and interact with each other and their host across the different microenvironments of the skin. A healthy skin microbiome is important to maintain tissue homeostasis and educate the immune system. However, microbial imbalances are also associated with skin disorders and chronic cutaneous infection.

We use a highly inter-disciplinary approach that combines high-throughput technologies such as deep sequencing and untargeted metabolomics, with bioinformatics, and wet-lab experimental systems, to elucidate how this balance between beneficial and foreign microbes is maintained at the skin surface and in the context of non-healing chronic wounds.

Wound healing and the microbiome:

Understanding how microbial biofilms and the dynamics of microbe-microbe interactions on the skin can play a role in delayed wound-healing.

Chemical ecology of the skin:

Identifying microbial-derived, skin-specific metabolites mediating microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions.