Ecology and evolution of host-associated microbes

Kasie Raymann, Bernard-Glickman Dean's Professor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Director of Graduate Studies at University of North Carolina Greensboro

“As an evolutionary biologist, my broad interest is in understanding how microbes evolve and adapt as populations and communities. My research has addressed microbial evolution both at the broad-scale (e.g. ancient evolutionary relationships) and fine-scale (e.g. microbial community response to perturbation). Currently, my lab uses the honeybee, an important agricultural and environmental pollinator, as a model system to study the evolution and dynamics of host-associated microbial communities. In particular, we are interested in understanding how chemical and environmental perturbations impact the population dynamics of the honeybee gut microbial communities and how these perturbations impact honeybee health. It is well known that perturbed communities can lead to infection by several pathogens, including opportunists, but the processes of how perturbation facilitates invasion remain elusive. Our research involves investigating how microbial community imbalance and within-host evolution influences pathogen susceptibility, what role resident microbes play in protecting their host, and how and when opportunistic pathogens become virulent.”