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Exercise in microbial community network modeling

Research Achievements

Exercise in microbial community network modeling

Our first IGERT student group exercise in microbial community network modeling was published last year (BMC Systems Biology), where we demonstrated that individual microbial populations with specific functional attributes can be represented in network models based on the presence of specific genes and the formulation of specific biochemical pathways describing central carbon metabolism and the primary source of electrons for microbial growth. Individual populations within a community may interact in a number of different ways, and network models describing hypothetical interactions among community members can be evaluated for possible modes of community function. The study was a culmination of our one-year academic IGERT course in Geobiological Systems, and is a truly interdisciplinary effort led by students and comprised of authors from five different departments including biochemistry, chemical engineering, microbiology, geology, and land resources and environmental science.