The Bordenstein laboratory endeavors to understand and disseminate the principles that shape interactions between animals, microbes, and viruses and the basic and translational outcomes of these interactions.
We employ hypothesis-driven approaches to study two forms of animal-microbe associations: intimate symbioses (between animals, obligate intracellular bacteria and bacteriophages) that impact animal reproduction and vector control, and facultative associations (between free-living organisms) that shape genome evolution across the tree of life. Our scholarship leverages a wide range of symbiosis expertise spanning virology, bacteriology, zoology, embryology, genetics, genomics, transcriptomics, ecology, evolution, development, and biochemistry. The lab also directs the worldwide lab series Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project that engages students in nature and real-world research, encourages international participation in the collection of new scientific data on symbiosis, and gives students an idea of what it is like to be a scientist.
Key questions that drive basic and translational research outcomes are:
- What is the impact of human ethnicity and diet on microbiome variation and health disparities? Publication | News | Microbiome Initiative
- How does a bacteriophage underpin a global pandemic (Wolbachia) and a major mosquito control strategy? Info | News | Publications
- How do animals form relationships with intracellular and free-living bacteria? Info | News | Publications
- How did life go from one to many millions of species today? How do microbes impact the origin of new animal species? Info | News | Publications
- Will bioprospecting Archaea fuel discovery of new antibiotics? Publication | News