The ecology and evolution of microbial communities all around us has fundamental impacts on human health, agriculture and the environment. My lab focuses on food microbiology at this intersection, combining wet-lab and computational methods to investigate microbial diversity from molecular- to community-scales. This talk will cover research (1) characterizing pangenomes of opportunistic pathogens to uncover adaptations involved in persistence and transmission and (2) leveraging genome-resolved metagenomics and transcriptomics to explore microbiome-host-environment interactions with implications from food security to infectious disease. These projects lead into current aims on developing frameworks for metagenomic surveillance of foodborne pathogens and mapping drivers of microbial diversity across food production chains to, collectively, inform bio-based strategies to promote sustainable agriculture and protect public health.
Dr. Blaustein is a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at UMD. He recently completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Julie Segre at the NIH-NHGRI (2022) and Dr. Erica Hartmann at Northwestern University (2020). He earned his PhD from the University of Florida (2017), following earlier training at UMD and USDA-ARS.