Our lab's focus is on the evolutionary ecology of interactions between microbes and hosts. We are interested in how both beneficial and harmful microbes establish and maintain relationships with their hosts. Such associations are shaped by ecological limitations on host range, evolutionary trade-offs for both hosts and microbes, and host immunology. We combine genomics, phylogenetics and experimental approaches to study these forces in diverse insect-microbe systems.
The lab is headed by Dr. Nicole Gerardo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Nicole is interested in how hosts adapt to defend against pathogens and how pathogens then adapt to overcome these host defenses. Similarly, she is interested in how mutualistic microbes play a role in defending their hosts against pathogens, and how hosts establish associations with beneficial microbes while protecting themselves from pathogenic microbes. To address these topics, she has utilized the versatility of insect–microbe systems in which both the host insects and their associated microbes can be maintained in the laboratory.
Interested in Joining the Lab?
Undergraduate Students. There are occasionally open positions available for undergraduates to conduct research in the Gerardo lab. An interest in evolutionary biology and ecology is a must. Students are expected to be able to work at least 10 hours in the laboratory and are expected to be able to eventually work independently. If interested, send a one paragraph statement of your interests in biology and our research specifically, as well as a list of science classes and any research experience that you have had, to Dr. Gerardo. Freshman and Sophomores are particularly encouraged to apply. For more information on undergraduate research at Emory, see this short Emory video on undergraduate research. For more information on funding opporunities, familiarize yourself with the SIRE and SURE programs. It is also possible to receive credit towards an Emory biology major.
Graduate Students. Graduate students are expected to have a keen interest in species interactions and in using insects and/or microbes as model systems. In the Gerardo lab, you will be trained in both experimental and molecular work and will be expected, with help, to develop an independent project and critical thinking skills. Graduate students will be expected to mentor undergraduate students. For more information on the application process to Emory's programs, go to the website of the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Gerardo's main program affliation is Population Biology, Ecology and Evolution (PBEE).
Postdoctoral Researchers. Postdoctoral Researchers are encouraged to apply to Emory's NIH-sponsored FIRST program, which provides three-year positions to fellows interested in combining a research and teaching experience. You must be an american citizen or resident to apply.