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the microbiome of food animal systems

Our lab is currently studying how management strategies and nutritional interventions impact the gastrointestinal microbiome of food animals to modulate efficiency and sustainability of animal production systems; specifically, with an emphasis in swine, beef and dairy production. This area of research aims to:

  • Understand the development of the gut microbiome of food animals before, at and after birth, and along the lifespan of the animal within the production chain.

  • Explore and evaluate the mode of action of alternatives to antibiotics and feed additives, as modulators of the gut microbiome, to promote efficiency, growth and health in swine production systems. 

  • Explore how interactions between diet, the gut microbiome and the animal genomic landscape modulate physiological performance in food animals 

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An important question in human microbiome research centers on determining the factors that shape the composition and function of the microbiome; and how population-specific microbiome profiles impact human health and disease. Our lab is currently exploring how different human subsistence, and cultural practices result in significantly different microbiome profiles across populations. This area of research in our lab is focused on:

  • Tracing the specific dietary and subsistence factors that cause the gut microbiome of western and nonwestern populations to differ significantly. 

  • Elucidating the influence of nonwestern microbiome features and traditional dietary practices on human health.

  • Evaluating the potential of traditional diet-microbe consortia to enhance human health.


The Microbiome of non-human primates

Nonhuman primates are our closest extant relatives, and studying their microbiomes provides a unique opportunity to understand current configurations of the human microbiome, in the context of health, disease, nutrition and evolution. Additionally, as many nonhuman primate species are currently threatened, studying their microbiomes could become a valuable tool to diagnose their conservation and ecological status. This area of research in our lab focuses on:

  • Exploring the gut microbiome of different nonhuman primate species to understand the evolution of the human microbiome, and microbiome contributions to human physiology.

  • Understanding how diverse ecological factors (diet, social system, seasonality, captivity, ontogeny) impact the primate microbiome, in the context of health and disease.

  • Studying microbiomes as indicators of primate fitness.


microbiome & nutrition

Specific foods, beverages and even dietary patterns can influence the gut microbiome, which can impact health in a multitude of ways. Our lab studies the microbiome and nutrition from an ecological and systems-based view by:


  • Investigating how agricultural systems impact soil, food and human microbiome(s).

  • Exploring fermented foods and their impact on human and animal health.

  • Understanding how food-related behaviors impact gut microbiota composition and function.


other research interests

Our lab is always eager to collaborate with a diverse group of scientists to address issues related to human and animal health and ecosystem sustainability. We have a wide research portfolio including collaborations in the following topics (among others): 

  • The gut microbiome and health in companion animals (dogs and cats)

  • The role of the human microbiome in head and neck cancer

  • The gut microbiome of horses

  • The effect of xenobiotics on gut microbiome and health