Metagenomics and the analysis of microbial genomes

One of the areas most impacted by the rapid rate of advances in high throughput DNA sequencing has been the study of microbial ecology. Sequencing of the microbial marker gene 16S rRNA is typically used to survey the species composition of microbial communities. The generation and analyses of such datasets has transformed our understanding of both the distribution of microorganisms on earth and of their contribution to human biology.

Analysis of such metagenomic datasets presents a multitude of interesting statistical and computational problems. The lab has recently been funded by the NHMRC to develop new approaches for the analysis of these datasets.

Students involved in this area will have the opportunity to interact with global leaders in microbiome analysis. In particular, the labs of Rob Knight at UCSD and Greg Caporaso at Northern Arizona University.