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The Hallam Lab

Investigating microbial communities…
Beyond the limits of our senses exists an infinitely diverse microbial world. This microcosmos extends into virtually every imaginable habitat, thrives under powerful extremes, and helps create and sustain the ecological and biogeochemical conditions for life on Earth. Just as cellular complexity arises through networks of genes, proteins and metabolites interacting across multiple hierarchical levels, so ecological and biogeochemical phenotypes arise from interactions between microbial community members encoded in the genomic fine structure of populations. Such networks continuously evolve by the arrival and departure of new nodes and linkages through mutation, gene transfer or habitat selection creating functionally redundant and resilient metabolic modules tuned to local environmental conditions.

In the Hallam Lab we harness the awesome power of environmental genomics to explore the microcosmos, describing microbial community structure and function across a wide range of natural and human engineered ecosystems. Each of our projects shares a core set of interdisciplinary tools sourced from ecology, molecular biology, genetics and computer science, and each views microbial community members as cellular constituents within the body of an ecosystem providing essential nutritional, energetic or detoxification services through distributed networks of metabolite exchange and feedback regulation.

Explore our projects >