Sharpton Lab

Thomas Sharpton, PI

The Sharpton Lab defines how the gut microbiome impacts vertebrate health, behavior, and evolution and ultimately aims to use this knowledge to design novel disease diagnostics and therapeutics. Our interdisciplinary research relies on microbiology, bioinformatic and systems biology techniques, and often involves developing novel computational and analytical methods to efficiently analyze massive data sets. We actively collaborate with other laboratories to strengthen and broaden our research, which frequently includes studying microbiomes in non-human organisms to improve our understanding of general microbiome properties.

Lab website:


Students will learn the interdisciplinary process of generating and analyzing gut microbiome data. Tasks may include conducting DNA extraction from samples collected from animals, sequencing DNA, using bioinformatic procedures to analyze DNA sequences, and applying statistical methods to generate hypotheses about how the microbiome’s composition relates to the health of its host. Two recent publications that exemplify the types of work the students will do are Conley et al. 2016 and Gaulke et al. 2018. These publications are linked via the Sharpton lab website under the publication tab.


Students will learn foundational concepts and methods in host-microbiome interactions and microbiome informatics. Students will use microbiome data to learn the scientific process.