Our group’s research interests span the broad field of microbial ecology, incorporating such varied disciplines as molecular biology, ecology, symbiosis, conservation and biomedicine. Most of our work focuses on the associations formed between diverse animal “hosts” (including humans, mice, birds and marine sponges) and the microbes living in and around them. Such interactions range from being pathogenic in nature, to microbes acting as a food source, to tightly linked mutualistic symbioses in which both partners benefit. Understanding which microorganisms are associated with which hosts - and why - is central to our research. We increasingly work in the human microbiome field, with current projects on the gut, sinus and lung microbiota. While our research extends across a number of biological systems, and employs a range of molecular and cultivation-based approaches, the unifying theme to our work is to better understand how microbes interact with their host organisms.
LABORATORY RESEARCH FOCUSES
- Microbiology of endangered New Zealand species
- Role of the gut microbiome in pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gut health
- Role of the microbiome in lower airway disease
- Microbiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- Role of the microbiome in chronic sinus, oral and ear disease
- Marine sponge microbiology
STUDENTS AND STAFF
Staff and Post-docs: Anna Lau
Postgraduate students: Jesse Baker, David Broderick, Michael Hoggard, Yao-Chin (Jonathan) Liu, Christian Lux, Akarsh Mathrani, Tyler Regtien, Anna Vesty, Brett Wagner, Annie West, Giselle Wong
Thomas T, Moitinho-Silva L, Lurgi M, Bjork JR, Easson C, Astudillo-Garcia C, Olson JB, Erwin PM, Lopez-Legentil S, Luter H, Chaves-Fonnegra A, Costa R, Schupp PJ, Steindler L, Erpenbeck D, Gilbert J, Knight R, Ackermann G, Victor Lopez J, Taylor MW, Thacker RW, Montoya JM, Hentschel U, Webster NS. 2016. Diversity, structure and convergent evolution of the global sponge microbiome. Nat Comms, 7, 11870, doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11870.
Astudillo-Garcia C, Bell JJ, Webster NS, Glasl B, Jompa J, Montoya JM, Taylor MW. 2017. Evaluating the core microbiota in complex communities: A systematic investigation. Environ Microbiol, 19, 1450-1462, doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.13647.
Hoggard M, Wagner Mackenzie B, Jain R, Taylor MW, Biswas K, Douglas RG. 2017. Chronic rhinosinusitis and the evolving understanding of microbial ecology in chronic inflammatory mucosal Disease. Clin Microbiol Rev, 30, 321-348, doi:https:/doi.org/10.1128/CMR.00060-16.
Tannock GW, Taylor MW. 2017. Embracing the co-operative society to better understand assembly of the gut microbiota. Environ Microbiol, 19, 2924-2925, doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.13752.
Ward L, Taylor MW, Power JF, Scott BJ, McDonald IR, Stott MB. 2017. Microbial community dynamics in Inferno Crater Lake, a thermally fluctuating geothermal spring. ISME J, 11, 1158-1167, doi:http://doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2016.193.