Our Research

Uses model microbial communities to understand the structure and function of soil, plant root, and human gut microbiomes.

Our Approach

Applies metagenomics, genetics, and small molecule chemistry, to study 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. We developed a three-species model community to study the nature of community robustness, invasion processes, and emergent properties of microbial communities, named THOR for “The Hitchhikers of the Rhizosphere.”

The Handelsman Lab also houses the Tiny Earth Chemistry Hub, a research center focused on expanding the work of Tiny Earth and finding novel antibiotic compounds.

Featured Publications

Social Motility of Biofilm-Like Microcolonies in a Gliding Bacterium

Chao Li, Amanda Hurley, Wei Hu, Jay w. Warrick, Gabriel L. Lozano, Jose M. Ayuso, Wenxiao Pan, Jo Handelsman, and David J. Beebe
Nature Communications

Tiny Earth: A Big Idea for STEM Education and Antibiotic Discovery

Amanda Hurley, Marc G. Chevrette, Deepa D. Acharya, Gabriel L. Lozano, Manuel Garavito, Jen Heinritz, Luis Balderrama, Mara Beebe, Martel L. DenHartog, Kamiyah Corinaldi, Renee Engels, Alyssa Gutierrez, Orli Jona, Josephine H. I. Putnam, Brody Rhodes, Tiffany Tsang, Simon Hernandez, Carol Bascom-Slack, Jessamina E. Blum, Paul A. Price, Debra Davis, Joanna Klein, Joshua Pultorak, Nora L. Sullivan, Nigel J. Mouncey, Pieter C. Dorrestein, Sarah Miller, Nichole A. Broderick, and Jo Handelsman

A Chemical Counterpunch: Chromobacterium violaceum ATCC 31532 Produces Violacein in Response to Translation-Inhibiting Antibiotics

Gabriel L. Lozano, Changhui Guan, Yanzhuan Cao, Bradley R. Borlee, Nichole A. Broderick, Eric V. Stabb, and Jo Handelsman

From Metagenomes to Molecules: Innovations in Functional Metagenomics Unlock Hidden Chemistry in the Human Microbiome

Marc G. Chevrette and Jo Handelsman

Introducing THOR, A Model Microbiome for Genetic Dissection of Community Behavior

Gabriel L. Lozano, Juan I. Bravo, Manuel F. Garavito Diago, Hyun Bong Park, Amanda Hurley, S. Brook Peterson, Eric V. Stabb, Jason M. Crawford, Nichole A. Broderick, and Jo Handelsman