2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Biology
Mentor: David Relman (Medicine - Infectious Diseases and Microbiology & Immunology)

“Understanding Strain Colonization using Gut-Derived Microbial Communities”

The human gut microbiome remains remarkably diverse and stable over the course of adult life, despite constant exposure to new microbes from the environment. To understand the ecological processes that help maintain this diversity and resilience to invasions, Doran will use a collection of previously isolated gut microbes to construct a set of distinct, naturalistic communities in the lab. He will use ribosomal gene sequencing to assess bacterial species composition as strains are introduced to communities and understand how ecological factors such as metabolic diversity, resource availability, and interactions between species help determine which species successfully colonize and become part of the community. Exploring ecological dynamics and relationships among human gut microbes is essential for understanding human health.