סמינר לפיזיקה של מערכות ביולוגיות וחומרים רכים: Synthetic Ecology: Building Microbial Communities From The Bottom Up
Dr. Jonathan Friedman
Ecosystems are arguably the most complex but least understood level of biological organization. Microbial communities, composed of numerous interacting species, are of particular importance as they play key roles in numerous application areas, including biotechnology, agriculture and medicine. In this talk, I will discuss our recent theoretical and experimental efforts towards developing a predictive understanding of the structure and function of microbial communities. We found that community structure can be well predicted from pairwise interactions in laboratory microbial communities, indicating that higher-order interactions among species can often be neglected. Currently, we are employing nanodroplet technology, which enables screening hundreds of thousands of communities, to directly screen for communities with desired properties. These results are the first step towards “synthetic ecology” - the rational design and management of microbial communities.