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overview Dr. Antonopoulos started as a microbiologist studying the cellulose-degrading capabilities of bacteria from the rumen, making extensive use of anaerobic cultivation buoyed by the then emerging area of comparative microbial genomics. Since that time his interest in understanding mammalian gastrointestinal function has been complemented by ongoing research in environmental systems. Currently, he is interested in understanding how microbial communities maintain their stability in a variety of environments. Stability is likely the result of “functional redundancy” via ultra-high levels of microbial community diversity. In this model, an increase in the redundancy of specific functions exhibited by the community contributes to its ability to resist perturbation. His group has created sub-community levels of organization (“minimal communities”) in the laboratory from a variety of natural environments, in order to understand the building blocks of stability in these systems. They also serve as an intermediate between complex natural communities and atomized collections of isolates in the laboratory. Dr. Antonopoulos' joint appointment between the University of Chicago (Dept of Medicine) and Argonne National Laboratory (Biosciences Division) enables interactions between the clinical and next generation DNA sequencing enabled laboratory approaches to understanding the microbial world. This has also been facilitated by his appointment as the Co-Director for the Host-Microbe Core of the Digestive Diseases Research Core Center (DDRCC) at the University.

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