Genomes of microbes and microbial communities.
Parasites such as Trichomonas and Trypanosoma (African sleeping sickness, leishmania and chagas disease) cause important diseases in both humans and animals. The Hall group use comparative and functional genomics to identify the genes that are involved in interaction with the host.
By studying strains and species that have defined phenotypic differences (such as differences in virulence or host specificity) we can use direct genome analysis to identify their genetic basis and study the rate at which genes are evolving. We also study the vectors of these parasites (such as tsetse flies) in order to better understand the epidemiology of these parasites.
The Hall lab also does research on microbial communities. Humans and all other animals depend on communities of bacteria (known as our microbiota) for a variety of processes including digestion of food, defence against pathogens and also enabling healthy development of the immune system.
Microbial communities also play a vital role in nutrient cycling in the environment. The Hall lab is studying microbial communities in the human gut and skin, how it develops in young infants and analysis of gene expression in these communities.