Jamie S. Foster

Associate Professor 

Description of Research

General area: Environmental microbiology, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, microbial ecology, host-microbe interactions and space biology.

The overall objective of Dr. Foster’s research program is dedicated to examining the interactions between microbial communities and their surrounding environments to improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that microbes use to adapt and respond to changes in the environment.

My research interests can be summarized into two main questions:

1. What mechanisms do microbes use to initiate these complex symbioses?

2. How do microbes living in complex symbiotic communities adapt and respond to a changing climate (e.g. elevated carbon dioxide, lower pH) and environmental stress (e.g. UV radiation, desiccation, space environment and oxidative stress)? By examining how microbes interact amongst themselves and their environment, I believed that a greater understanding can be obtained of how complex microbial communities may have originated and evolved throughout Earth’s history. My research attempts to elucidate the required genetic and biochemical mechanisms by which microbial communities are initiated, established and maintained.

3. What molecular and biochemical mechanisms are required by microbes to tolerate and grow in space and Mars-like ecosystems?

By examining how microbes interact amongst themselves and their environment, I believed that a greater understanding can be obtained of how complex microbial communities may have originated and evolved throughout Earth’s history. Microbialitic mats, a model for early Earth ecosystems, are complex community structures that contain a diverse array of microbes and are under constant exposure to external and internal stresses. My research attempts to elucidate the required genetic and biochemical mechanisms by which microbialitic mats communities are initiated, established and maintained.

Teaching Interests
    • MCB 3703 - Astrobiology
    • Astrobiology, Environmental Microbiology
Personal Sites

Jamie S. Foster