Weitz Group @ Georgia Tech Theoretical Ecology and Quantitative Biology

NSF award to study host-viral interactions

Posted by jsweitz

Dr. Joshua Weitz has been awarded a grant from the Program in Biological Oceanography on "Understanding the Effects of Complex Phage-Bacteria Infection Networks on Ocean Ecosystems". The award provides over $470,000 over 4 years to study the interaction between viruses and bacteria in ocean ecosystems.

Bacteria and their viruses (phages) make up two of the most abundant and genetically diverse groups of organisms in the oceans. The extent of this diversity has become increasingly apparent with the advent of environmental sequencing. However, the ongoing discovery of new taxonomic diversity has, thus far, out-paced gains in quantifying the function of and interactions among phages and bacteria. In this proposal, Weitz will develop a theoretical framework for characterizing the effect of complex phage-bacteria interactions on microbial ecosystem structure and function.

As part of this grant, Weitz will also help train quantitative biologists interested in microbial systems. The training will include the development of a new course, opportunities for undergraduate research, and opportunities for hands-on laboratory experience for modelers in collaboration with the viral ecology laboratories of Matt Sullivan (U of Arizona) and Steven Wilhelm (UT-Knoxville).