The goal of the Handelsman lab’s research is to understand the structure and function of microbial communities and the signals that govern them through the application of metagenomics, genetics, and small molecule chemistry. Areas of emphasis include biochemistry and genetic regulation of antibiotic production, microbial diversity, antibiotic resistance, and symbioses in communities in soil, on plant roots, and in the human gut. The lab developed a three-species model community to study the nature of community robustness, invasion processes, and emergent properties of microbial communities.