At the Interface of Human Genomics and Microbiome Research

Based at The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, we are part of the Departments of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

Our Research

We study human genomic factors that control and interact with the microbiome. We utilize high-throughput genomics technologies and employ computational, statistical, machine learning, and population genetic analytical approaches, with the goal of understanding how we interact with our microbial communities, how host-microbe interactions affect human disease, and how the symbiosis between us and our microbiome evolved.

  Key Recent Publications

Functional genomics of host–microbiome interactions in humans
Luca et al., Trends in Genetics, 2017
Discrete mutations in colorectal cancer correlate with defined microbial communities in the tumor microenvironment
Burns et al., BioRxiv, 2017
Genetic ancestry and natural selection drive population differences in immune responses to pathogens
Nédélec et al. Cell, 2016
Gut microbiome of coexisting BaAka pygmies and Bantu reflects gradients of traditional subsistence patterns
Gomez et al., Cell Reports, 2016
Host genetic variation impacts microbiome composition across human body sites
Blekhman et al., Genome Biology, 2015
Variation in rural African gut microbiota is strongly correlated with colonization by Entamoeba and subsistence
Morton et al., PLOS Genetics, 2015
Virulence genes are a signature of the microbiome in the colorectal tumor microenvironment
Burns et al., Genome Medicine, 2015
Social networks predict gut microbiome composition in wild baboons
Tung et al., eLife, 2015
Human genetics shape the gut microbiome
Goodrich et al., Cell, 2014

  Lab News

A framework for identifying host genetic variants associated with microbiome composition.

Software, code, and instructions (GitHub)
Online network visualization tool
Paper (GigaScience)

  Our Work in the Media

  • VICE Episode: The Emerging Field of Microbiome Science
    HBO VICE, 2017
  • The Secret About Human Evolution Found in Spit
    The Guardian, 2017
  • Microbes Meet Cancer
    The Scientist, 2016
  • Everything You Need to Know About Poop

    New York Magazine, 2016

  • Is Gut Science Biased?
    FiveThirtyEight, 2016
  • The Microbiomes of Indigenous Peoples Are Different--Does It Matter?

    Scientific American Blog, 2016

  • Giving Up Hunting & Gathering Changed Our Microbiome
    Newsweek, 2016
  • Genetics, Immunity, and the Microbiome

    The Scientist, 2015

  • Who Is The Master Of Your Microbial Domain?

    Popular Science, 2015

  • Surprises Emerge As More Hunter-Gatherer Microbiomes Come In

    National Geographic Blog, 2015