Welcome to the Foster Lab

We study bacterial competition and the human microbiome

Microbial communities are critical for health, agriculture, industry and the environment. A key current goal, therefore, is to both understand and engineer these communities, including the human microbiome. However, this is a challenging prospect because most microbial communities contain large numbers of evolving and interacting species, which makes them complex systems with many moving parts. Our goal is to break down this complexity by combining ecological and evolutionary approaches with microbiology. We study bacterial competition, particularly toxin-mediated warfare, and seek to understand what it takes for a given bacterial strain to succeed in the human microbiome. We also seek to understand the properties of microbiome communities as a whole, including the ability to resist pathogens. On the website you can find people and download our papers.

Watch animation: "Bacterial safari: The forest on your fingernail", based on our microbial ecology work. 

Play our game GUTWARS! (the motivation for one of our recent studies)