We investigate how microbes and microbiomes impact the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems. For example, our department studies how the human gut microbiota impacts neurological disorders, or the respiratory tract microbiota affects viral infections. Our research groups also work on understanding the functions of host-associated microbiota in fish diseases, and in coral reef ecology.
Scientists at the forefront of microbes, microbiomes and health research
The Rowe lab studies cooperation between the human upper respiratory microbiome and respiratory viruses. Many species of bacteria in the upper respiratory community can bind to Influenza A virus, the cause of ”the flu.” This interaction can increase the likelihood of a bacterial infection after having the flu and can alter the transmission of the flu from person to person. Influenza A virus also is a pathogen of birds and understanding interactions between Influenza A virus and bird microbiome can lend insights into pathogenesis and transmission of Avian Influenza Viruses, both bird to bird and bird to human.
We develop and apply high-throughput computational and statistical tools that characterize how microbiomes operate, diversify, and evolve in the context of their hosts. We are particularly interested in understanding how changes in the microbiome can influence vertebrate physiology.
530 Nash Hall
Bacteria talk – and we’re listening. We are interested in the mechanisms and evolution of bacterial communication and cooperation. Cell-cell communication, also termed quorum sensing, is ubiquitous in the bacterial world and often controls other cooperative processes such as biofilm formation, nutrient acquisition, and virulence.
422 Nash Hall
Assistant Professor, Senior Research
All of the wonderful things our brains do, from vision, to memory, to emotion, depend on the electrical activity of neurons. The development and function of these neurons is strongly impacted by the microbes living in and on us, and this complex interaction plays a role in many diseases. I study how neurons wire and communicate with each other, and how gut microbes directly and indirectly shape their activity. To do this, I use a technique called electrophysiology, which involves placing tiny electrodes near or inside individual neurons to record their behavior with remarkable sensitivity. As the Director of the Electrophysiology Core Facility, I am working to bring this technique to the many other neuroscience laboratories at OSU.
My current work is in collaboration with Dr. Fritz Gombart studying anti-microbial peptides produced by immune system cells. The particular antimicrobial peptide we focus on is cathelicidin which is unique in that it is regulated by Vitamin D. We use both human cells and mouse models to understand the roles of Vitamin D and cathelicidin in immune system functions.
453 Linus Pauling Science Center
The Kent Laboratory is focused on two major research areas: diseases of zebrafish in research facilities and impacts of pathogens on wild salmonid fishes. In both areas, we study chronic infectious diseases. Zebrafish make excellent research models but underlying chronic diseases are of concern as they relate to non-protocol induced variation in laboratory fish, as they would with any laboratory animal.
532 Nash Hall
The David lab focuses on microbiota-gut-brain interactions, and aims to identify mechanisms by which the gut microbiota can impact our behavior. Her laboratory especially focuses on Autism Spectrum Disorder, and aim to understand how the interplay of lipid metabolism and the gut microbiota can impact the autism phenotype.
534 Nash Hall
Emile F. Pernot Distinguished Professor
My lab’s research uses interdisciplinary and high technology approaches to address questions about how viruses and microbes function in and affect the environment. My research provides important insight into a variety of fields including: virology, microbiology, coral reef ecology, animal physiology, and the evolution of symbioses.
454 Nash Hall