Bacteria make air breathable, help to digest food, and gift us with the sweet smell of rainy days. They are ubiquitous and versatile, and I love to study them!
High diversity and biological balance are important features of resilient, healthy ecosystems. All species in any given ecosystem contribute to its overall functioning, no matter how small they are. The human ecosystem is no exception, and we have seen that the diversity and balance of our own (host) microbial communities are able to influence the transition between health and disease.
My research reflects my interests in microbial physiology and ecology, and is focused on how bacteria interact with, and ultimately change, their surroundings. During my PhD in environmental microbiology and microbial physiology at the University of Bologna, Italy, and the University of Calgary, Canada, I studied bacterial soil communities that transform organic and inorganic pollutants. Now in the Bäckhed lab, I study microbe-microbe as well as host-microbe interactions in the human gastrointestinal tract, through analysis and interpretation of metagenomics sequencing data. The overall goal of my current research is to contribute to the understanding of how microbial interactions may be targeted for human nutrition, metabolic regulation and preservation of health.