Faculty Profiles

Karsten Zengler

Professor, Pediatrics
Adjunct Professor, BENG
Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego

Microbiota and Microbiomes

Our lab studies the complex interactions of microorganisms between themselves, microbes, their environment, and their host. These interactions are critical for global cycles and play a crucial role in health and disease. We deploy a community systems biology approach that involves both experimental (multi-omics) and computational methods to unravel genome organization and community composition, metabolism, and exchanges microbes are engaged in. We predict outcomes in complex microbial ecosystems and design successful intervention that selectively alter the microbiome. This targeted manipulation enables the rational design of microbial environments, benefitting the host, including plants and humans. This interdisciplinary approach engages lab members of diverse backgrounds in computational biology and mathematics, molecular biology and genetics, as well as physiology and microbiology.


Capsule Bio:

Karsten Zengler is a Professor at UC San Diego and has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of microbiology and systems biology. After receiving his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (Bremen, Germany), he worked for seven years in the biotechnology industry where he led a team of scientists to pioneer the high-throughput cultivation for the isolation and recovery of previously unculturable microorganisms. His work has focused on understanding of interactions of microorganisms with their environment and host organisms. He spearheaded the field of community systems biology where he combined his knowledge in microbial physiology and molecular biology with computational biology to discover new physiological capabilities, regulatory effects, and novel multidimensional interspecies interactions. His lab has been on the forefront of developing new protocols for ultra-low input and quantitative omics approaches to determine the role of the microbiome in the environment and in health and disease. Dr. Zengler is co-founder of several companies and is on the advisory board of different companies and institutions.

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Karsten B. Zengler


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Zengler Lab