Our microbial partners, living on and within us, are essential to our health and provide us with countless benefits from food digestion to protection from pathogens. They interact intimately with our bodies, especially in the first years of life, educating the immune system, establishing metabolic set points and impacting developing gut physiology. Understanding healthy normal microbial colonization in early life is essential to the study of healthy infant development, as well as for the design of effective translational interventions aimed at the microbiota. Research in my lab aims to uncover the core processes, such as colonization, succession and stability, involved in microbial establishment within the human body. My approach involves human cohorts and animal models and uses molecular methods, microbial culture and bioinformatics, with the ultimate goal of understanding how the microbiota contributes to infant development and long term health.

Current Research Topics:

Microbial community maturation within the context of a maturing host environment. My lab is developing and applying computational, molecular and culture based methods to study human associated microbial communities longitudinally.

Early infant nutrition choices on bacterial succession. By combining molecular profiling, with in vitro and in vivo experiments we are exploring how the infant diet helps to shape microbial communities.

Microbial contribution to early life origins of disease. By studying large populations of individuals we are connecting the gut microbiome and microbially derived metabolites in early life with evolving phenotypes of human disease, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and atopy.

We have funding for a postdoctoral fellow! See the advertisement: Stearns – Farncombe Postdoctorate Fellowship – May 6 2021