Tom Schmidt

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Office Location(s): 1520C Medical Science Research Building
Phone: 734.763.8206
Schmidt Lab website
View Curriculum Vitae

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Department of Internal Medicine
    • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Fields of Study
    • Patterns of diversity, metabolic tradeoffs and interactions in the microbial world
  • About

    Academic background

    Professor Michigan State University, 1992 - 2012
    Assistant Professor, Miami University, Ohio 1990-1992
    Postdoctoral fellow, Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind. 1987-90
    Postdoctoral researcher. Scripps Institute of Oceanography, San Diego, Calif. 1985-87
    Ph.D. Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. Research area: Microbiology 1985   
    M.S. Ohio State University; Columbus, Ohio. Research area: Environmental Biology 1981
    B.S. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. Biology 1978

    Research interests

    Research in the Schmidt laboratory is focused on the physiology and ecology of microbes. We routinely develop and apply nucleic acid-based methods to explore and understand patterns of diversity and function of microbial communities, and to guide cultivation efforts. Our research is currently focused on two microbial communities: those found in terrestrial environments and are involved in the flux of greenhouse gases, and microbes that constitute mammalian microbiome. As we develop a better appreciation for the relationship between the structure and function of these microbial communities, we are conducting research to uncover fundamental principles that explain distribution patterns of microbial populations.

    A current point of interest is testing the hypotheses that there is a tradeoff between growth rate and resource use efficiency. Subtle changes in metabolism appear to poise microbes for a lifestyle of explosive growth or efficient conversion of resources into progeny, and in the spatially structured environments of soil and the mucosa of the human gut, we are testing the hypothesis that efficiency confers a greater selective advantage than growth rate. These research projects have practical implications for the engineering of microbes and their maintenance in artificial and natural microbial communities.

  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Patterns of diversity, metabolic tradeoffs and interactions in the microbial world