The Handelsman Lab uses multidisciplinary techniques to understand the structure and function of microbiomes

Our lab 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 to discover novel antibiotic compounds from soil bacteria.

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Welcome and AJEDI Statement

Diversity is essential for great science. Research and our experience both show that diverse groups generate better ideas and more creative solutions to problems than homogeneous groups. By recruiting diverse people to the Handelsman lab and empowering every member of our group to contribute to the scientific discourse, we can achieve our scientific potential.

We welcome and value diverse people in our lab and expect each lab member to uphold high standards of integrity and respect. We do not tolerate discrimination based on, but not limited to, ability, age, experience, and identities such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. We believe that each of us has a responsibility to prevent or address unfair behaviors within our lab and scientific environments and to contribute to a welcoming environment.

Group photo of the Handelsman Lab in January 2024
We aim to build a safe, welcoming, and supportive lab environment by
  • acknowledging each lab member’s needs and unique voice
  • trusting one another to hear and be heard
  • ensuring that discourse is respectful and supportive
  • dynamically assessing the social climate of our lab individually and together to improve the environment for all

Our lab adheres to the principles of AJEDI, which stands for antiracism, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

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Recent Publications

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Recent News

Handelsman Elected to National Academy of Sciences

May 2nd, 2023|

Jo Handelsman was among 120 scientists elected into the National Academy of Sciences this year. This recognition is for distinguished and continued achievements in original research, and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Congrats, Jo!

  • iFAST Seminar

Jo Handelsman Presents at iFAST Seminar

October 22nd, 2022|

This seminar is part of the International Forum on Advanced Environmental Sciences and Technology (iFAST) seminar series at the University of Oklahoma. Jo Handelsman discusses the importance of soil, the reasons we are losing soil at devastating rates, and practices to improve soil health in this talk, titled A World Without Soil: Science and Stewardship of our Endangered Natural Resource.

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Available Now!

A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath our Feet

By Jo Handelsman

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a world without soil cover