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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: