Understanding the transformation of biopolymers and metabolites within microbial communities


We are interested how microbial communities are structured by the biopolymers and metabolites in their environment and the dynamic and reciprocal processes by which they transform these pools. Central to these efforts are the development of mass spectrometry approaches to study these processes including exoenzyme activity profiling, exometabolomics and mass spectrometry imaging. Together these allow us to comprehensively characterize metabolic activities, dynamics and localization within complex cellular systems to predict responses and design interventions.

Given the complex processes mediating microbial community metabolism our experiments are performed as part of multidisciplinary collaborations. These ‘team science’ are a central part of research activities at Berkeley Lab and the NorthenLab is an active participant in several large DOE programs including the ENIGMA SFA, Joint BioEnergy Institute and Joint Genome Institute.