Jack Gilbert

Who am I?

In addition to being an MBL Fellow, I am a Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago, the Group Leader for Microbial Ecology at Argonne National Laboratory, the Director of the Microbiome Center, and Associate Director for the Institute for Genomic and Systems Biology. Along with my affiliation with the MBL, I also have affiliations at the Field Museum of Natural History and am Scientific Advisor for Gusto Global LLC and the BioCollective LLC. Finally, I am Editor in Chief of mSystems, a journal focused on microbial systems biology for the American Society for Microbiology.


What do I do?

I am a microbial ecologist and explore how bacteria interact with each other and with their environment. I focus on ways to characterize and elucidate these interactions and try to find strategies to improve the resolution of our analyses, both spatially and through time. I mostly employ microbial meta’omics techniques to explore the genomes of bacteria and archaea, how those genes are transcribed and what metabolites they generate. I am very interested in modeling these interactions and enjoy uncovering fundamental principles of microbial ecology that can be applied to understanding microbial systems in many environments. We have active research projects in marine, freshwater, sediment, soil, plants, animals, humans and even the built environment. Microbes are everywhere, so we have to be too!

Why do I come to the MBL?

The MBL is the spiritual home of some of the key techniques I apply to explore microbial ecology. The fundamental research here has shaped the science in my field, and the voyage of discovery at the MBL is one that I would like to be involved with. As a former Adjunct Senior Scientist with the Bay Paul Center, I have active research projects with PIs at the MBL as well as with groups at the Woods Hole Research Center and am also keen to leverage the convening power of the MBL to create new courses that can teach microbiome research to other professionals.

What do I do/work on at the MBL?

I am excited to work on microbiome research at the interface between terrestrial and aquatic as well as human and aquatic ecosystems, and am really interested in building research programs that have the ability to have real societal impact. Our existing research is focused on studying the microbiome of river systems and the impact of waste water pollution on the microbial ecology of those rivers. We are also involved in a project to explore the microbiome of super-athletes and how marine swimming influences their microbial health. Finally, I am very interested in how climate change will influence microbial processes in ecosystems such as floodplains and have active research and developing projects with other MBL Scientists. Importantly, I am very keen to explore developing research with the Marine Resources Center as a focus to create new animal and plant models of microbial assemblage and host-microbe interaction.

More information:

See Jack’s website: http://surgeryresearch.uchicago.edu/jack-gilbert

Cool Videos:
The Microbiome Project
Why getting dirty is the new clean