Featured event

illustration of gut bacteria microbiome

Qbio Seminar Series: Ophelia Venturelli

Event Details

When: November 9, 2016, 2:00 PM

Location: 3rd Floor Orchard View Room , Discovery Building

Contact: 608-316-4401, hstampfli@wisc.edu

Ophelia Venturelli

Ophelia Venturelli
Asst. Professor
Biochemistry
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Reverse engineering synthetic ecologies from the human gut microbiome

The human gut microbiome is a dense ecosystem that impacts human health, nutrition and development. Developing the capability to design functional, stable, energy efficient and resilient multi-species communities to mediate human health is an obtainable grand challenge. Central to this problem is systematically mapping unknown inter-species interactions that generate emergent community-level properties. I will describe a general framework to reverse-engineer the ecological network using measurements of lower-order assemblages to predict higher-order communities. We applied this approach to infer interactions among members of a diverse human gut microbiome synthetic ecology. Using a top-down approach, we discovered a low abundance keystone modulator of community dynamics. Measurements of metabolites that were produced or consumed by monospecies as a function of time provided key insights into the mechanisms mediating inter-species interactions. Together, these methods will be used to extract generalizable design principles to inform ecosystem design including stability, resilience to perturbations and resistance to invasion.

All QBio sponsored talks take place on Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. in the 3rd floor Orchard View room of the Discovery Building unless otherwise noted. Talks are open to the public. Access to the room is via the elevator behind Aldo’s Cafe in the Northeast corner of the building.