Seth Bordenstein - Penn State Cancer Institute
We are interested in the evolutionary, genetic, and biochemical principles that shape interactions within the host-microbiome consortia, also known as the holobiont. Our long term goal is to combine knowledge from humans and animal model systems to define what are the rules of microbiome and symbiosis variation within and between animal species. We seek to answer three main questions: (1) What human features (genes, diet, sociality, etc) robustly impact the microbiome, metabolome, and disease risk phenome? (2) What animal genes affect colonization, replication, and maternal transmission of bacteria such as the inherited Wolbachia endosymbiont in arthropods? (3) What is the degree of phylogenetic signal on animal-associated microbiomes (aka, phylosymbiosis); simply put, do phylogenetically-related species have more similar microbiomes? If the answer is yes, then is phylosymbiosis consequential to host biology?