Seminar - How does nature build metabolic factories?

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
presents a seminar by:
Karna Gowda
Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Ecology & Evolution, The University of Chicago
Seminar - How does nature build metabolic factories?


Sponsored by UBC Department of Microbiology & Immunology

Abstract: Microbial communities represent complex and consequential "metabolic factories," performing biochemistry critical to the health of human hosts, the functioning of ecosystems, and the global cycling of nutrients. The 'omics revolution has revealed to us the expansive "parts list" of nature's metabolic factories, but we are still in desperate search of principles that will allow us to make sense of the complexity. Here, I will present the results of two studies, in which taking a statistical view (i.e., comparing many instantiations of systems in order to average over idiosyncrasy) provides us with a glimpse of the underlying design logic of natural microbial communities. First, I will describe our effort to solve the "structure-function problem" for microbial communities, in which we establish a predictive link between gene content and metabolic dynamics in diverse synthetic consortia, using bacterial denitrification as a model metabolic process. Second, I will describe ongoing work on the "environment-structure" problem, which reveals a remarkable connection between global patterns in gene-environment covariation and tradeoffs on individualmetabolic traits, highlighting the role of environmental, ecological, and physiological constraints for structuring natural communities. Finally, I will briefly discuss plans for future inquiry that advance these ideas towards new strategies for understanding, controlling, and designing nature's metabolic factories.


This is a hybrid seminar which you can attend in person in LSC3 (Life Sciences Institute, UBC Vancouver Campus) or on Zoom. If you are joining on zoom, please use the meeting ID and passcode below: 

Meeting ID: 91037 579420 

Passcode: 579420


Tuesday, February 28, 2023 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Life Sciences Centre, LSC 3
2350 Health Sciences Mall
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