Exploration of Earth’s microbial and viral diversity is a major scientific frontier. Sequencing DNA – the blueprint of life – collected directly from the environment provides a powerful way to access the uncatalogued microbial diversity on our planet. These uncharacterized lifeforms are ripe with novel functions, metabolisms, the potential for biotechnological and medical applications, and will inform us on the evolution of all life.
My previous work has explored the nature and extent of microbial life underground and below the seafloor using tools rooted in molecular biology, biogeochemistry, and microbiology. Now I am working to explore novel microbial diversity in additional environments through the leveraging of ultra-powerful computational resources and true access to massive genome databases (i.e. big data).