Professor Tom Schmidt joined EEB in January 2013, after 10 years as a professor at Michigan State University. He is jointly appointed with EEB and the Departments of Internal Medicine, and Microbiology and Immunology.

“Tom is a great addition to the department, bringing his expertise and leadership in microbial ecology, as well as a bridge to the medical school and the growing group in microbial ecology there and across the rest of the campus,” said EEB Professor and Chair Deborah Goldberg.

Schmidt is currently seeking graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows to work with him in his lab. Research in the Schmidt laboratory is focused on the physiology and ecology of microbes. “We routinely develop and apply nucleic acid-based methods to explore and understand patterns of diversity and function of microbial communities, and to guide cultivation efforts,” he said. “Our research is currently focused on two microbial communities: those found in terrestrial environments and are involved in the flux of greenhouse gases, and microbes that constitute the mammalian microbiome. As we develop a better appreciation for the relationship between the structure and function of these microbial communities, we are conducting research to uncover fundamental principles that explain distribution patterns of microbial populations.”

He researches microbes from soil environments to the mucosa of the human gut. These research projects have practical implications for the engineering of microbes and their maintenance in artificial and natural microbial communities.