Soils, plant roots, skin, lungs, and the human gut: They all have a microbiome, the complex of microorganisms that supports life, confers immunity, and sometimes gives pathogens an edge.
PNNL’s microbiome science research deploys omics and synthetic biology to understand and manipulate the functional architecture of communities of bacteria, fungi, and archaea. These interactive organisms perform often little-understood services that profoundly shape the Earth and influence human health.
PNNL researchers want to predict how individual microbes interact in the complex soil system, as well as how they respond to—and affect—changes above and below ground. They search for how interactions between soil enzymes, metabolites, and microbial consortia decompose vast amounts of carbon stored in the world’s vulnerable soils. And they seek ways to predict how soil networks and their functions shift in response to changes in moisture.
PNNL’s microbiome research supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s pursuit to use the powerful, natural tools within the environment to develop future bio-based products, clean energy, and next generation technologies.
Microbiomes that inhabit the human body act like a second brain. They react to stimuli, including environmental changes, then prompt reactions that may support or degrade health.
PNNL researchers are looking at how this diverse body of personalized microorganisms influences both the cause and prevention of disease. In addition, researchers investigate the fate and function of chemicals in humans and microbiomes with a focus on exposures from the environment, diet, industry, and warfighting.