Welcome to the Foster Lab

We study social interactions in microbes and other group-living species

Organisms regularly meet members of their own and other species. Whenever these interactions affect survival and reproduction - the currencies of Darwin's natural selection - they are "social" in evolutionary terms. We study how social interactions affect and define biological systems. We have an interest in animal groups and interactions within genomes, including transposon evolution. But our primary focus is the microbes who commonly live in dense and diverse communities. We are also interested in host-symbionts systems, particularly the mammalian microbiome where we are applying our ideas to engineer beneficial communities for improved health . Our work combines theory and experiments, and we write reviews of key concepts and debates in the study of interacting organisms. On the website you can read more about what we do, find people and download our papers.

NEWS: Piece in Nature: we argue that the classical approaches of evolutionary biology are needed to understand the human microbiome. Read the paper here

Piece in PNAS: we show how a cell's shape can be critical to its competitive ability with our new agent-based model, backed up by experiments. Read it here.