Infectious Diseases and the Microbiome

Researchers in the Department of Biology and at the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology are using genomic tools to study a range of different infectious diseases, including the malaria parasite Plasmodium, species of parasitic trichomonad, tick-borne pathogens, Brugia malayi that causes lymphatic filariasis, and influenza and other respiratory viruses, to name a few. Research projects include studies on host-pathogen interactions, determining the molecular epidemiology of infectious disease agents, exploring infectious disease evolution and transmission, and developing predictive models of disease severity.

In close parallel, other studies in the department look at human and environmental "microbiomes", the collective genomes of microbes found in, for example, body cavities such as the lungs, or ecological niches such as urban gardens. Facilitated by advances in sequencing technologies, it is now feasible to examine the composition of such complex microbial communities in order to increase our knowledge of microorganisms and their effect on humans, wildlife and ecosystems. We are increasingly aware of the delicate balance between the microbes that colonize various habitats and niches, and how their dysregulation or perturbation affects our health and the environment.


NYU Biology Faculty in this research area:

Richard Bonneau* Network inference and modeling microbial community interactions.
Jane Carlton* Comparative genomics and evolution of parasites e.g., Trichomonas, urban metagenomics and systems ecology.
Patrick Eichenberger* Transcriptional regulatory networks in spore-forming bacteria.
Elodie Ghedin* Viral and parasitic worm evolution, and host-pathogen interactions.
David Gresham* Systems biology of microbial cell growth and RNA degradation.
Mary Killilea Spatial and temporal variability in ecosystems, using GIS, remote sensing and modeling.
Edo Kussell* Stochastic processes in adaptation and evolution.
Matthew Rockman* Systems genetics of gene expression in free-living worms.
Katie Schneider-Paolantonio   Community and food web ecology, subterranean ecosystems (Natural and man-made).
Mark Siegal* Robustness and evolution of complex phenotypes.
Christine Vogel* Proteomics and regulation of protein expression.
Rob DeSalle
Molecular systematics and evolutionary genomics.
Marty Blaser
(NYU School of Medicine)
Human microbiome and the mis-use of antibiotics.
Todd Disotell
Primate evolution, human genetic variation and primate parasites.

*Faculty with a primary appointment in the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology.


Sample course curriculum in this research area:

Course Number(s) Course Name
Infectious Diseases and the Microbiome
Graduate Level
BIOL-GA 2015 Genomics and Global Public Health
BIOL-GA 1023 Hot Topics in Infectious Diseases
BIOL-GA 1004 Environmental Health
BIOL-GA 1006 Ecotoxicology
BIOL-GA 1129 Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics
Undergraduate Level
BIOL-UA 44 Microbiology and Microbial Genomics
BIOL-UA 0103 Bioinformatics in Medicine and Biology
BIOL-UA 16 Ecological Field Methods
Where the City Meets the Sea
Introduction to Epidemiology
Urban Ecology
Fundamentals of Ecology