Bottom-up Assembly of Microbial Communities: Modeling, Analysis and Engineering
Center for Advanced Study
Levis Faculty Center--Music Room (208)
919 W. Illinois, Urbana
Microbes are of fundamental importance to the environment, agriculture and human health. To exploit their potential for various applications, a fundamental challenge is to decipher the basic rules underlying microbial assemblages that are often heterogeneous in space and time. Professor Lu’s lab aims to address the challenge using a bottom-up approach that combines biophysical modeling with experimental synthetic biology.
Recently, the lab developed a computational platform that enables individual-based simulation of microbial communities across multiple scales. Using the platform, the lab investigated how the modes of cellular social interactions and the spatial scale of interaction contribute to microbial assemblages, which were simultaneously determined with experimental ecosystems. Using engineered cellular interactions, the lab further demonstrated the utility of synthetic consortia for applications in metabolic engineering. The lab’s studies provide insights into the organization of microbial communities, and illustrate the potential of synthetic ecosystems for practical purposes.
Department of Bioengineering, Fellow 2017-18