Janet Jansson - Rubbo Orator & Public Lecture Speaker
The overarching aim of my research is to gain a better understanding of key functions carried out by microorganisms in complex microbial communities, such as those residing in soil, sediment and the human gut, by employing state-of-the-art and novel “omics” approaches. These tools are implemented with bioinformatics and statistics using super computing facilities to tackle increasingly large and complex meta-omic datasets. One specific research area that we are addressing in my group is to use omics to better understand the role of soil microorganisms in cycling of carbon and how these functions are perturbed in the face of a changing climate. For example, we are aiming to understand how changes in precipitation will impact the cycling of stored soil carbon in prairie soils and how a warming climate will impact microbial decomposition of carbon stored in permafrost. Another application of omics in my group is to explore high salt environments for novel enzymes for lignocellulose degradation for biofuel applications. We are also using multi-omics approaches to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on indigenous microbial communities in the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, we have a major research focus on the human microbiome and are studying the impact of antibiotics, diet and disease on gut microbial community composition and function. Examples of our human microbiome research include use of omics to understand how the gut microbiota composition and function is impacted by resistant starch in the diet and by Crohn’s disease.