Dr. Berra Erkosar

I study host and intestinal microbiota interactions from an evolutionary point of view, using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. Drosophila emerged as a model to study host-commensal interactions in the last decade. It contains a relatively simple microbiota compared to mammals that is mainly composed of aero-tolerant species such as Lactobacillales and Acetobacterceae, which are easy to handle in lab environment. My major aim is to identify the role of gut microbiota during evolutionary adaptation.To do this, I use Drosophila strains that are maintained in and adapted to chronic larval malnutrition for over 160 generations to see how their microbiota co-evolved with respect to a standard or poor food and how do their evolved microbiota impact the adaptation. In addition to this, I am studying a new experimental evolution setup to asses host and microbiota co-evolution not only during larval poor nutrition but also when individuals are chronically exposed to diets associated with common metabolic disorders.

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