The Sonnenburg lab is focused on understanding basic principles governing diet-gut microbiome dynamics, and how these interactions influence human biology. Using an evolutionary lens, we investigate what defines a healthy microbiome, how industrialization has altered the microbiome, and whether those of us in the industrialized world are harboring a community of microbes that is now incompatible with our human biology. Our lab also applies systems approaches and uses genetic tools to gain mechanistic insight into emergent properties of the host-microbial super-organism, as well as utilizing principles of synthetic biology to engineer gut bacteria to diagnose and treat disease.
Erica Sonnenburg, PhD. is a senior research scientist at the Stanford University School of Medicine in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Her work on the influence of diet on the gut microbiota has been published in top journals including Cell, Science, and Nature.
Justin Sonnenburg, PhD. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He is the recipient of an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigators in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award, and most recently the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award.
Together they lead the Sonnenburg lab, which is currently focused on understanding basic principles that govern interactions within the intestinal microbiota and between the microbiota and the host. To pursue these aims, the lab utilizes both gnotobiotic mice and humans as model systems to understand the role of the microbiota in health and disease. The lab also applies systems approaches (e.g. functional genomics), and uses genetic tools for the host and microbes to gain mechanistic insight into emergent properties of the host-microbial super-organism.