Researcher | Research Overview
Lab: SRN Lab
The goal of the Rakoff-Nahoum lab is a comprehensive understanding of the host-associated microbiota at various levels of biological organization: from genes to molecules to organisms to ecosystems, and importantly, the determination of cause and effect. To achieve this, we couple empirical approaches with ecological and evolutionary frameworks. We use the tools of classic bacterial genetics of gut anaerobes including the cultivation, random and directed mutagenesis of individual members of the mammalian microbiota (Bacteroides, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria), in vitro and in vivo experimental and gnotobiotic systems to study the adaptation of gut bacteria to the environment, computational approaches to microbiome ecology, and high throughput in vitro pipelines for the cultivation, genetic, chemical and phenotypic analysis of the effects of members of the microbiota on each other and the host, with focus on innate and adaptive immunity.
Current focuses in the Rakoff-Nahoum lab center in six non-mutually exclusive dimensions: 1) genetic and molecular mechanisms of cooperation and competition among the gut and female reproductive tract microbiome, 2) the role of microbial metabolites in gut microbial ecology, 3) the glycobiology of host-microbiome interactions, 4) microbiome ecology in human populations, focusing on pediatric health and disease, 5) metabolism of dietary and microbial bioactive molecules by the microbiome and impact on host innate and adaptive immunity, 6) the role of gut and FRT community function in inflammation.
Researcher | Research Background
Dr. Rakoff-Nahoum received B.A.’s in Biology and Religious Studies at Brown University, and both an M.D. and Ph.D in Immunobiology from Yale University, performing graduate work with Ruslan Medzhitov, studying pattern recognition of the microbiota. During clinical training in Pediatrics in the Boston Combined Residency Program and in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital, he performed postdoctoral work with Laurie Comstock, studying social evolution in gut microbial communities. Dr. Rakoff-Nahoum’s lab is supported by an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award,the Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences, a Basil O’Connor Award from the March of Dimes, and a Career Award for Medical Scientists from the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation. Dr. Rakoff-Nahoum’s clinical focus is in the immunocompromised infectious diseases pediatric population.