Matt Perisin

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Committee on Microbiology and Department of Ecology & Evolution.

As an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, I studied biochemistry but became frustrated at the lack of context that comes with focusing on a single enzyme or single reaction. To broaden my perspective, I joined the Department of Microbiology at the University of Chicago as a graduate student. I felt that pathogenesis provided the big picture for highly specific biochemistry studies. After rotating through several labs, I realized pathogenesis needs more context as well and, therefore, I started a project in the Bergelson lab to study entire microbial communities.

My research centers on maintenance of diversity in microbial communities. As more and more microbiome studies catalogue the amazing diversity of the microbial world, I have become increasingly interested in understanding how so many different species coexist. To tease apart the complex ecological forces maintaining diversity, I use the endophytic bacterial community of A. thaliana as a model. Three types of forces shape this community: host, environmental, and interspecific bacterial interactions. To understand these factors, I apply a multi-faceted approach, ranging from 16S rRNA amplicon surveys of field collected plant communities, to manipulating and modeling in vitro communities, to using fluorescence microscopy to visualize complex in planta communities.

Check out my personal webpage:

Current projects

> Visualization of microbial communities within single leaves
> Biogeographical and temporal patterns of the microbial communities
> Predictability of bacterial communities across environmental and species complexities

University of Chicago, Dept. of Ecology & Evolution