The Microbial Systems Laboratory focuses on the biophysics, ecology and genomics of individual microbes to explain environmental interactions and processes. This approach unifies investigations into ocean, groundwater and animals, including humans. Focusing on individuals continues to produce results of considerable interest to basic and applied research. Lab research initially focused on movement biophysics caused by motility, shear and turbulence. Improvements in flow cytometry and genomics have led us to build our investigations from the individual to the population and community levels.  


Current research in the lab focuses on microbial nutrient uptake, distributions, interactions and invasions. This ranges from diffusion of nutrient through diatom pores and microbial re-invasion of the human mouth to identifying aquatic communities and bioenergy production. Within in this range students have completed PhDs on hypersaline viral and bacterial dynamics, ancient animal viruses deep within groundwater, microscale microbial distributions, microbial responses to upwelling, microbial fuel cell dynamics, coral pathogensis and CO2 capture, among others.