Previous Seminars

August 29 - David Nelson, Department of Physics, Harvard University, 'Active Antagonism:  Reproducing Microorganisms and Fluid Flow' (link to abstract here)

August 8- Theopi Alexandra Varvakis Rados (Alexandre Bisson lab), Department of Biology, Brandeis University 'The perks of being squishy: morphological development of archaeal cells in response to the physical environment' (read abstract here)

July 18 Artur Rego-Costa, Desai Lab, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard 'Yeast evolutionary dynamics in large industrial bioethanol fermenters' (read abstract here)

July 11, 2022 Roberto Kolter , Department of Microbiology, Harvard Medical School 'Microbial Sciences, Past, Present and Future - A Conversation' (read the abstract here)

July 8, 2022 Ariel Furst, Chemical Engineering, MIT 'Sensing Bacteria and Bacterial Sensing' (read the abstract here)


December 4, 2019 Anupam Sengupta, University of Luxembourg

“Fluctuation induced emergent traits in motile phytoplankton”


November 20, 2019 Jianbo (Bob) Zhang, Griffith Lab, MIT

“Patient-derived microphysiological system for studying​ gut epithelium-microbe-immune interactions”


November 13, 2019 Rachel Gregor, Ben Gurion University

“Mapping the chemical diversity between mammalian gut microbiomes – a molecular walk in the zoo”


November 6, 2019 Ashley Wolf, Gordon Lab, Washington University in St. Louis – School of Medicine

“Bioremediation of a Food Processing Byproduct by a Human Gut Bacterium”


November 1, 2019 Alita Burmeister, Turner Lab, Yale University

“Evolutionary interactions between phage resistance and antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli“


October 30, 2019 Siân Owen, Baym Lab, Harvard Medical School

“A prophage with DNA-based immunity to its own phage defence protein”


September 30, 2019 Elena Barbera, University of Padua

“Cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms in continuous systems in

view of industrial applications”


September 27, 2019 Matthias Fischer, The Max Planck Institute for Medical Research


September 18, 2019 Anni Zhang, Alm Lab, MIT

“Choosing your Battles: Which Resistance Genes Warrant Global Action?”


May 15, 2019 Xinda Lu, Chisholm Lab, MIT

“Metagenomic and chemical characterization of soil vitamin B12 production”


May 8, 2019 Liz Landis, Wolfe Lab, Tufts_

“Deconstructing and reconstructing microbiomes of fermented foods”


May 1, 2019 Tabita Ramirez Puebla, Borisy Lab, The Forsyth Institute_

“Micron-scale spatial structure of the microbiota of kelp Nereocystis luetkeana”


April 24, 2019 Harriet Alexander, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Computational approaches for the study of marine protists”


April 17, 2019 Abhishek Shrivastava, Berg Lab, Harvard

“The motile forces that shape a microbial community”


April 10, 2019 Kelsey Wheeler, Ribbeck Lab, MIT

“Probing the role of mucins on Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence.”


April 4, 2019 Rachel Colquhoun, Iqbal Lab, EMBL-EBI

“Nucleotide level analysis of genetic variation in the bacterial



April 3, 2019 Thibério Rangel, Fournier Lab, MIT

“Slow-evolving sites negatively impact reconstruction of deep Tree of Life phylogenies”


March 27, 2019 – Andreas Sichert, MARUM/​Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

“Highly adapted marine Verrucomicrobia degrade sulfated fucose-polysaccharides with an exo-enzyme strategy”


March 20, 2019 – Javier Fernández Juárez, The Forsyth Institute

“NextGen Biosensors Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love custom-made transcription factors”


March 13, 2019 Justin Silpe, Bassler Lab, Princeton

“A Bacterial Quorum Sensing Autoinducer that Controls Group Behaviors in Vibrio cholerae and Lysis-Lysogeny in a Vibriophage”


March 6, 2019 Jed Fuhrman, USC Dornsife

“Integrating classic and omics approaches to study marine microbial systems, three domains plus viruses.”


February 20, 2019 Robert Marsland III, Mehta Lab, Boston University

“Statistical Mechanics of Microbiomes”_


November 29, 2018 Becky Lamason, MIT

“Bacterial pathogens hijack host machinery to promote cell-to-cell spread”


November 8, 2018  David Riglar, Harvard Medical School

“Gut Feelings: Engineering Synthetic Bacterial Circuits to Probe the Mammalian Gut”


November 1, 2018  Michelle Meyer, Boston College

“The Importance of Regulation: The Impact of RNA-Regulators on Bacterial Fitness”


October 18, 2018 César de la Fuente, MIT

“Towards Artificial Antibiotics, Biological Discovery and Living Medicines”


Oct 10, 2018 Jessica Mark Welch, Marine Biological Laboratory

“Spatial organization in the human microbiome at micron scales”


Sep 20, 2018 Christopher Johnston, The Forsyth Institute & Harvard School of Dental Medicine

“The Genetic Intractability Barrier Of Bacteria – And How To Overcome It”


Sep 5, 2018 Tim Miyashiro, Penn State University

“Microbial Growth and Competition within a Host: Insights from a Natural Animal-Microbe Symbiosis”


May 16, 2018 Carol Bascom-Slack, Tufts University

“Crowd-sourcing Environmental Surveillance of Environmental Antibiotic-Resistance Through Undergraduate Course-Based Research”


May 9, 2018  Thane Papke, University of Connecticut

“DNA uptake, epigenetics, and phosphate cycling are intertwined processes in the archaeon Haloferax volcanii”


May 2, 2018  Brittany Widner, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“New insights into dissolved organic nitrogen driven by novel analytical techniques”


Apr 25, 2018  Kathrin Näpflin, Harvard University

“CRISPR-Cas array diversity among Mycoplasmas infecting House Finches and Poultry”


Apr 11, 2018  Pia Moisander, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

“Disentangling the composition and functions of the dynamic microbiome of marine copepods”


Apr 4, 2018  David Gootenberg, Harvard Medical School

“HIV-associated differences in the gut microbiota in geographical context”


Mar 14, 2018  Thomas Hackl, MIT

“My enemy’s enemy: How host-virophage mutualism provides population level defense against pathogenic giant viruses”


Mar 7, 2018  Severin Schink, Harvard Medical School

“Why bacteria die exponentially during starvation”


Feb 28, 2018  Lori Shapiro, Harvard Medical School

“Evolution of a New World Pathogen to an Old World Host”


Nov 15, 2017  Nathan Ahlgren, Clark University

“Quantifying the relative influence of environmental factors and viruses on seasonal patterns of ecologically distinct populations within marine Synechococcus ecotypes”


Nov 1, 2017  Aspen Reese, Harvard

“Ecological Dynamics of the Gut Microbiota”


Oct 4, 2017  Fabiola Miranda, Polz Lab, MIT

“Being a legume and finding your rhizobial partner: Diversity patterns of bacterial communities in soils unearth strong selection. “


Aug 23, 2017  Yinon Bar-On, Milo Lab, Weizmann Institute of Science

“The distribution of Biomass on Earth”


Aug 1, 2017  Sebastián Fuentes, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

“Anthropogenic Pressure over the Antarctic Microbial World: Stability of Soil Communities Facing Hydrocarbon Pollution Disturbance”


May 22, 2017   Ying Zhang, University of Rhode Island

“Simulating the metabolism and evolution of microbial systems using genome-scale models”


May 17, 2017   Scott Chimileski, Kolter Lab, Harvard Medical School

“Time-lapse, ultra-high resolution photography and 3D modeling of macroscopic microbial structures and behaviors”


May 3, 2017   Anthony Poole, Canterbury University

“Exploring molecular origins using synthetic biology, experimental evolution & genomics”


Apr 24, 2017  Joshua Payne, University of Zurich

“A thousand empirical adaptive landscapes and their navigability”


Apr 12, 2017  Kristen DeAngelis, UMass Amherst

“The Who and How of Microbial Control over Soil Carbon Dynamics”


Apr 5, 2017    Jo Wolfe, Fournier Lab, MIT                  

“Dating the Tree of Life using fossils and phylogenomics”


Mar 28, 2017 Chris Bowler, Institut de Biologie de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure (IBENS)

“Tara Oceans: Eco-Systems Biology at Planetary Scale”


Feb 8, 2017    James Pipas, University of Pittsburgh

“Exploring the viral universe and the panviral proteome”


Dec 14, 2016  Tim Enke, Cordero Lab, MIT

“Microbial interactions on microscale marine model particles.”


Nov 16, 2016  Shane Hogle, Chisholm Lab, MIT

“Signatures of iron cycling in marine microbial genomes and ecosystems”


Nov 9, 2016    Daniel Mende, DeLong Lab, University of Hawai’i

“Exploring a genomic inflection point in the twilight zone of the ocean’s interior at station ALOHA”


Oct 19, 2016     David Johnson, EAWAG

“The causes of microbial biodiversity”


Oct 5, 2016  Sidhartha Goyal, University of Toronto

“Achieving ‘optimal’ growth using feedback inhibition”


Sep 28, 2016 Zachary Frentz, Rockefeller University

“Strongly deterministic dynamics in microbial ecosytems”


Sep 21, 2016  Salvador Almagro Moreno, Taylor Lab, Dartmouth College

“Ecological and evolutionary approaches to unravel the emergence of pathogenic Vibrios”


Aug 10, 2016 Maria Elena Martino, Institut de Genomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon

“How mutualism evolves: experimental microbiome evolution in gnobiotic flies”


July 28, 2016 Burak Avci, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

“Ecophysiology of recurrent bacteria associated with North Sea spring phytoplankton blooms”


May 25, 2016 Winn Johnson, Kujawinski Lab, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“What can metabolomics teach us about microbial activity in the ocean?”


May 18, 2016 Gabriel Leventhal, Cordero Lab, MIT

“The evolutionary history and future of microbial communities”


May 11, 2016 Jen Nguyen, Stocker Lab, ETH Zurich

“Fluctuating nutrient environments and their implications on bacterial growth”


May 4, 2016 Robert Citorik, Lu Lab, MIT

“Engineered Bacteriophages as Precision Antimicrobials”


Apr 27, 2016 Wolfgang Hess, University of Freiburg

“Little Bugs – Big Impact: Functional Assignments to non-coding RNAs in the Regulation of Gene Expression in Cyanobacteria”


Apr 20, 2016 Jaclyn Saunders, University of Washington

“Prochlorococcus response to phosphate stress”


Apr 13, 2016 Robert Brucker, Rowland Institute at Harvard

“The evolving hologenome: how natural selection can shape interactions of host immunity and microbiota.”


Apr 6, 2016  Alvaro Sanchez, Rowland Institute at Harvard

“Ecology and evolution of extracellular molecules in microbial communities”


Mar 30, 2016 Julia Schwartzman, Gilmore Lab, Harvard Medical School, Mass. Eye & Ear Inf.

“Rhythms in the squid-vibrio symbiosis”


Mar 9, 2016 Michael Tikhonov, Harvard

“Cohesion without cooperation: a top-down perspective on community ecology”


Mar 2, 2016 Peter Weigele, New England Biolabs

“DNA hypermodification in bacterial viruses”


Feb 24, 2016 Stefan Thiele, Polz Lab, MIT

“LOHAFEX – Lessons from the last iron fertilization experiment”


Feb 10, 2016 Ewen Cameron, Collins Lab, MIT

“Synthetic biology tools to study microbial systems and engineer probiotic bacteria”


Dec 16, 2015 Mark Smith, OpenBiome

“Microbiome Engineering: from current practice to future therapy”


Dec 9, 2015 Nichola Hill, Runstadler Lab, MIT

“Evidence of seasonality in a host-pathogen system: Influenza across the annual cycle of wild birds”


Dec 2, 2015 Sean Gibbons, Alm Lab, MIT

“Protein expression levels constrain evolutionary trajectories during genome streamlining”


Nov 4, 2015 Xinning Zhang Paulot, Morel Lab, Princeton University

“The importance of alternative nitrogenases in N2 fixation in the past and present”


Oct 28, 2015 Kat Coyte, University of Oxford

“The ecology of the microbiome: networks, competition, and stability”


Oct 22, 2015 Assaf Vardi, Weizmann Institute of Science

“A chemical arms race during host-virus interactions at sea”


Oct 14, 2015 Frederique Le Roux, Station Biologique Roscoff

“Oyster as a model to investigate the functional units of Vibrio pathogenesis”


Sept 30, 2015 Jennifer Talbot, Boston University

“Microbial diversity and the carbon cycle: insights from soil fungal communities”


June 10, 2015 Michelle O’Malley, UC Santa Barbara

“Exploiting Anaerobes for Biomass Breakdown and Sustainable Chemistry”


May 20, 2015 Jeff Bowman, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

“Metabolic inference: Can we bridge the gap between microbial community structure

and ecosystem function?”


May 6, 2015 Mathieu Groussin, Alm Lab, MIT

“Disentangling the effects of host phylogeny and diet in mammalian microbiomes”


May 1, 2015 Matt Johnson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Chemical signaling and grazing defense in phytoplankton”


Apr 23, 2015 Tim van Opijnen, Boston College

“Host-genetics and fluid bacterial genomes make virulence and drug-resistance context dependent”


Apr 8, 2015 Katherine Lemon, The Forsyth Institute, Harvard Medical School, & Boston Children’s Hospital

“Nose Picking for Progress: Mining the Nostril Microbiome for New Insights into Pathobionts”


Apr 1, 2015 Lee Alan Dugatkin, University of Louisville – Co-hosted by the MIT Biophysics Seminar

“Altruism Writ Small: E.coli Cells Protect One Another From Antibiotics”


Mar 25, 2015 Elena Kazamia, University of Cambridge

“Synthetic ecology: using microalgae and bacteria for biotechnology”


Feb 18, 2015 Joshua Meisel, Kim Lab, MIT

“Is it food or is it poison? How worms navigate their microbial world”


Feb 11, 2015 Assaf Rotem, Weitz Lab, Harvard

“Studying viruses, one by one”


Feb 4, 2015 Daniel Segre, Boston University

“Metabolic modeling of microbial ecosystems in time and space”


Dec 10, 2014 Heather Olins, Girguis Lab, Harvard

“Co-registered geochemistry and metatranscriptomics reveal an unexpected distribution of microbial activity within a hydrothermal vent field”


Dec 3, 2014 Ben Wolfe, Tufts University

“Dissecting microbial diversity using cheese rinds”


Nov 19, 2014 Steve Smriga, Stocker Lab, MIT

“Dissecting the Phycosphere: Upscaling Bacterial Consumption Near Individual Diatoms to Predict Population Growth”


Nov 5, 2014 Einat Segev, Kolter Lab, Harvard

“Life, Death and Geology in Algal-Bacterial Interaction”


Oct 29, 2014 Kwangmin Son, Stocker Lab, MIT

“Live imaging of viral encounter and adsorption”


Oct 22, 2014 Tami Lieberman, Kishony Lab, Harvard

“Within-patient diversification of bacterial infections”


Oct 15, 2014 Beate Kraft,Girguis Lab, Harvard

“Environmental controls on microbial nitrate reduction: Denitrification or dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA)”


Oct 8, 2014 Kristen Hunter-Cevera, Sosik Lab, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Population dynamics and diversity of Synechococcus on the New England Shelf”


Sep 24, 2014 Matt Traxler, Kolter Lab, Harvard

“Complex interspecies interactions between actinomycetes”


Aug 20, 2014 Susumu Yoshizawa, DeLong Lab, MIT

“What colors of light do microbes use?”


July 23, 2014 Justin Meyer, Harvard Medical School

“Evolution of a key innovation in a virus”


July 14, 2014 Toby Kiers, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

“The Evolution and Stability of Microbial Markets”


May 21, 2014 Andreas Schramm, Aarhus University, Denmark

“Unlikely seafloor-dwellers: from bacterial cables to the energy-limited deep biosphere”


May 7, 2014 Oscar Sosa, DeLong Lab, MIT

“A Sea of Dissolved Organic Matter: How do Bacteria Break it Down?”


Apr 30, 2014 Steven Biller, Chisholm Lab, MIT

“Bacterial extracellular vesicles in marine ecosystems”


Apr 23, 2014 Yutaka Yawata, Stocker Lab, MIT

“Steady or ready? A competition-dispersal trade-off ecologically differentiates recently speciated marine bacterioplankton populations”


Feb 26, 2014 Pushkar Lele, Berg Lab, Harvard

“Adaptation via remodeling of protein complexes in the bacterial flagellar motor”


Dec 18, 2013 Paul Turner, Yale

“RNA virus adaptation (or not) to environmental change”


Dec 11, 2013 Jonathan King, MIT

“Structural Organization and Intracellular Assembly of Cyanophage Syn5 Infecting Marine Synechococcus”


Nov 14, 2013 Gavin Sherlock, Stanford University

“Attack of the Clones: Observing Adaptive Evolution in Yeast in Real Time”


Oct 2, 2013 Kimberley Seed, Camilli Lab, Tufts University

“Microbial warfare: Evolutionary dynamics between epidemic Vibrio cholerae and a predatory phage”


Sept 18, 2013 Carol Arnosti, UNC Chapel Hill

“Heterotrophic microbial communities as selective catalysts in the marine carbon cycle”


Sep 11, 2013 Kei Inomura, Follows Group, MIT

“How does nitrogen fixation slow down the growth of diazotrophs? Numerical analysis of Azotobacter vinelandii”


May 15, 2013 Krista Longnecker, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Linking bacterial processes and dissolved organic matter in marine ecosystems”


May 8, 2013 Tracy Mincer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Production of methanol by a wide phylogenetic array of phytoplankton and implications for epibiont interactions”


May 1, 2013 Daniel Weinreich, Brown University

“How Demography Influences Microbial Adaptive Trajectories in Theory and Practice”


Apr 17, 2013 Diane Munera, Waldor Lab, Harvard

“The German E. coli O104:H4 outbreak strain: genomics and virulence of an emerging pathogen”


Apr 10, 2013 Paul Berube, Chisholm Lab, MIT

“Nitrate assimilation and the ecology of Prochlorococcus: Features and implications of intraspecific diversity in a model marine phototroph”


Apr 3, 2013 Laura Meredith, Prinn Lab, MIT

“Soil microbial H2 harvesting: energy from thin air?”


Mar 20, 2013 Mira Guo, Weitz Lab, Harvard

“Droplet microfluidics for high-throughput single-cell metagenomics”


Mar 13, 2013 Kristina Fontanez, DeLong Lab, MIT

“Ecology and evolution of hydrothermal vent mussel symbionts”


Mar 6, 2013 Christopher Corzett, Polz Lab, MIT

“Fitness during feast and famine: How error-prine DNA polymerases influence physiology and evolution in E.coli”


Feb 27, 2013 Peter Gogarten, University of Connecticut

“Phylogenomics and Darwin’s ‘Coral-of-Life’ in light of horizontal gene transfer”


Feb 20, 2013 Sarah Preheim, Alm Lab, MIT

“Using Ecology to Improve the Accuracy of Amplicon Data from Next-Generation Sequencing”


Dec 5, 2012 Jan-Hendrik Hehemann, Polz Lab, MIT

“Microbe Matter Interactions: From the Ocean to the Human Intestine”


Nov 28, 2012 Howard Ochman, Yale

“3000 bacterial genomes: What have we learned?”


Nov 21, 2012 Nicole DeNisco, Walker Lab, MIT

“A novel method for synchronization of the legume symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti

and application towards global cell cycle gene expression analysis”


Nov 14, 2012 Ramunas Stepanauskas, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

“Single cell genomics: A straightforward approach to microbial ecology and evolution”


Nov 7, 2012 Eric Wommack, University of Delaware

“The viriosphere: Ecological, biological, and genetic contrasts of viruses across the biosphere”


Oct 31, 2012 Qinglu Zeng, Chisholm Lab, MIT

“Regulatory cascades in cyanophages and their hosts in response to environmental resource limitation”


Oct 24, 2012 Philippe Constant, INRS Montreal

“Hydrogenovore bacteria: Is starvation diet the missing link in the biogeochemical cycle of molecular hydrogen?”


Oct 17, 2012 Nicole Kavanaugh, Ribbeck Lab, MIT

“Mucin Biopolymers Prevent Bacterial Aggregation by Retaining Cells in the Free-swimming State”


Oct 10, 2012 Melissa Garren, Stocker Lab, MIT

“Diving into the Unseen: Visualizing Live Coral-Bacteria Interactions”


Sep 26, 2012 Will Trimble, Meyer & MG-RAST Group, Argonne National Laboratory

“Counting kmers: how much can you say about NGS sequencing data if you don’t know anything?”


May 16, 2012 John Paul, University of South Florida

“Genetic Escape Pods or Promiscuous Little B$&@tards – GTAs in the Oceans”


May 9, 2012 Orr Shapiro, Stocker Lab, MIT

“Microbial community development in a wastewater treatment system: some insights into microdiversity and what phage might be doing there”


Apr 25, 2012 Lina Yousef, Masdar Institute

“Plant derived molecules: single compounds or cryptograms in plant-oomycete interactions?”


Apr 18, 2012 Kiana Frank, Girguis Lab, Harvard

“Linking microbial ecology to metabolic activity in deep sea hydrothermal vents”


Apr 11, 2012 Peter Turnbaugh, Harvard

“Developing a metagenomic view of drug metabolism”


Mar 21, 2012 Scott Gifford, DeLong Lab, MIT

“Resolving the niches of coastal bacterioplankton: Growth and function signals in metatranscriptomics”


Mar 21, 2012 Jesse Shapiro, Sabeti Lab, Harvard

“Signatures of natural selection in microbial genomes”


Mar 14, 2012 Steve Vollmer, Northeastern University

“The genetics of host-pathogen interactions in disease of reef-building corals”


Feb 29, 2012 Elizabeth Halliday, Gast Lab, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Leveraging molecular methods to improve water quality monitoring at beaches”


Feb 22, 2012 Roman Stocker, MIT

“Chemotaxis in the Ocean”


Feb 15, 2012 Liz Ottesen, DeLong Lab, MIT

“Caught in the act: Time-lapse transcriptomics of marine microbial communities”


Feb 8, 2012 Eric Karsenti, EMBL & Colomban De Vargas, Station Biologique de Roscoff

“TARA-OCEANS: toward an eco-systemic understanding of plankton in the global ocean”


Dec 14, 2011 Bill Hannage, Harvard School of Public Health

“Pneumococcal vaccination as an ecological experiment”


Dec 7, 2011 Jennifer Bowen, Northeastern University Marine Science Center

“Shedding new light on microbial community response to disturbance: lessons from a 40 year fertilization experiment in Great Sippewissett Marsh”


Nov 30, 2011 Marco Coolen, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Holocene virus/host molecular dynamics and environmental changes in the Black Sea”


Nov 23, 2011 Kyle Peet, Thompson Lab, MIT

“Genomic insights into growth and survival of supercritical-CO2 tolerant bacterium MIT0214 under conditions associated with geologic carbon dioxide sequestration.”


Nov 16, 2011 Vaughn Cooper, University of New Hampshire

“A tangled bank: long-term laboratory evolution of complexbiofilm communities”


Nov 2, 2011 Mark Smith, Alm Lab, MIT

“Ecology drives a massive network of horizontal gene transfer connecting the human microbiome”


Oct 19, 2011 Paul Falkowski, Rutgers

“The microbial engines that drive Earth’s biogeochemical cycles”


Oct 12, 2011 Mick Follows, MIT

“Cyanophage diversity and lysogeny in cyanobacteria”


Oct 5, 2011 Simon Labrie, Chisholm Lab, MIT

“Cyanophage diversity and lysogeny in cyanobacteria”


Sep 28, 2011 Manu Tamminen, Alm Lab, MIT

“Making genomics small: picoreactors, targeted sequencing and single genome barcoding”