Microbiome Science - Ruth E. Ley

Microbiome Science - Ruth E. Ley

The Department of Microbiome Science is broadly interested in the ecology and evolution of the human gut microbiota. We perform population-level research to probe links between human genotype and the gut microbiota, and we focus mechanistically on ways in which specific gut microbes have adapted to the human body.


In the Department of Microbiome Science, we ask fundamental questions about the evolutionary origins of the human gut microbiome and how it influences host physiology and evolution. We have the following main areas of research: (1) evolution of the human gut microbiome and interplay with host genetics, (2) lipids in host-microbiome symbiosis, (3) microbiota-innate immune interactions, (4) development of genetic systems for currently intractable microbes. Please see the representative papers from the lab in these areas below, and visit our Department’s website for more information LEY LAB.

Selected Publications

Suzuki TA, Fitzstevens JL, Schmidt VT, Enav H, Huus KE, Mbong Ngwese M, Grießhammer A, Pfleiderer A, Adegbite BR, Zinsou JF, Esen M, Velavan TP, Adegnika AA, Song LH, Spector TD, Muehlbauer AL, Marchi N, Kang H, Maier L, Blekhman R, Ségurel L, Ko G, Youngblut ND, Kremsner P, Ley RE. Codiversification of gut microbiota with humans. Science: 16;377(6612):1328-1332. doi: 10.1126/science.abm7759. (2022). (PDF)

Heaver, S. L., H H. Le, P. Tang, A. Baslé, C. Mirretta Barone, D. Long Vu, J. L. Waters, J. Marles-Wright, E. L. Johnson, D. J. Campopiano & R. E. Ley. Characterization of inositol lipid metabolism in gut-associated Bacteroidetes. Nature Microbiologyhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-022-01152-6 (2022)

Youngblut ND, Reischer GH, Dauser S, Maisch S, Walzer C, Stalder G, Farnleitner AH, Ley RE. Strong influence of vertebrate host phylogeny on gut archaeal diversity. Nature Microbiology 6: 443–1454 https://rdcu.be/cP3JC (2021)

Suzuki T and Ley RE. The role of the microbiota in human genetic adaptation. Science 370 eaaz6827 (2020)

Johnson EL, Heaver SL, Waters JL, Kim BI, Bretin A, Goodman AL, Gewirtz AT, Worgall TS and Ley RE. Sphingolipids produced by gut bacteria enter host metabolic pathways impacting ceramide levels. Nature Communications 11:2471 (2020)

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