Headshot portrait of Kimberly Vasquez - Bio-X Bowes Fellow
Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2019
Home Department: Microbiology & Immunology
Faculty Advisors: KC Huang (Bioengineering and Microbiology & Immunology), Gavin Sherlock (Genetics), and Justin Sonnenburg (Microbiology & Immunology)

Research Title: Tracking Evolution and Community Assembly Within the Mammalian Gut

Research Description: The gut microbiota is critical for resistance to pathogen invasion, modulation of the immune system, and metabolism. While substantial progress has been made in correlating microbiota composition to host health and disease, the inherent complexity of this ecosystem has precluded mechanistic understanding of the dynamics of colonization and evolution. Kimberly will generate a high-resolution Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron library in which cells have heritable ‘barcodes’ that empower tracking of lineages through sequencing and imaging, and will use this library to study evolution in gnotobiotic mice. This study provides a novel paradigm for studying the ecology and evolution of multispecies communities helping us to better understand how a healthy microbiota is established in the gut.


Kimberly is an industry postdoc at Gilead studying regulatory T cells.