Microbial Evolution, Physiology, Ecology & Genetics
Investigation in microbial physiology, ecology, genetics and evolution represents a large part of the departmental research effort. Research performed includes the study of microbial community diversity in various natural and extreme environments. Recent research has focused on examining the ecological niches of microbes colonizing humans (the microbiome), with an emphasis on the influence of normal flora diversity on specific pathogens and polymicrobial diseases.
A major research effort explores experimental models of evolutionary processes and computer simulation of evolution. Research is also underway in areas focusing on contribution of microbes to global change, microbial enzymology, biofilm architecture and physiology, bacterial cell-to-cell communication, and microbial biotechnology including bioremediation and conversion of biomass to fuels and other industrially important chemicals.
Closely affiliated with the Microbial Physiology, Ecology and Evolution group and physically located within our department is the Center for Microbial Ecology's Bioinformatics Group which maintains the Ribosomal Database Project (RDP-II) http://rdp.cme.msu.edu/. This is a major international database resource for bacterial phylogeny and identification, and several other important web resources.