Research Summary

Complex microbial communities and their metabolic activities have critical functions in virtually all of Earth’s ecosystems, including the human body. The Mohn lab seeks to better understand some of these communities and the mechanisms by which they impact humans and the planet. In particular, we focus on forest soil communities as well as communities in the gut and lung. We also study particular types of microbial metabolism, including the degradation of lignocellulose and steroids. We employ a combination of culturing, genetic, genomic, metagenomic and isotopic approaches to elucidate microbial communities and metabolism. This work has applications in forest management, conversion of biomass to useful chemicals and fuels as well as the prevention and treatment of disease.

• Microbial controls on terrestrial organic matter subsidies to the coastal ocean
• Gut microbiome – immune system interactions in asthma
• Biorefining lignin to commercial chemicals
• Microbial catabolism of steroids, from enzymes to ecosystems
• Forest renewal practices for our changing climate
• Effects of forest harvesting on soil microbial diversity and metabolic potential
• The skin microbiome and aging

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Since 1993  Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, UBC
Since 2015  Co-founder and Co-Chief Scientific Officer, Microbiome Insights Inc.
Since 2007  Centre for Microbial Diversity & Evolution, UBC
Since 2005  Steering Committee, Life Sciences Institute, UBC
2009-2014  Board of Directors, International Society for Microbial Ecology
2003-2011  Editorial Board, Applied & Environmental Microbiology
2000-2009  Editorial Board, Microbial Ecology
2002-2003  Sabbatical, Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia CSIC, Madrid, Spain
1997-2002  Section Editor, Canadian Journal of Microbiology
1992-2003  Visiting Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa
1990-2002  Research Associate, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa
1990  Ph.D., Microbiology, Michigan State University
1983  B.A., Biology, Colgate University

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