See Thomas Sharpton's full profile on the Department of Microbiology's website.
Our laboratory strives to resolve the molecular functions used by the gut microbiome to influence health with the long-term aim of applying this knowledge to develop disease diagnostics and therapeutics. To this end, we employ systems biology approaches that measure the complex milieu of microbiome features (e.g., taxa, genes) and statistically model these data to zero-in on those features linked to health as well as the exogeneous factors (e.g., dietary nutrients, environmental toxicants, infectious agents) that influence them. We also seek to use this knowledge to advance our understanding of vertebrate evolution and ecology. Our work often involves the innovation of new methodology and research tools.
We value interdisciplinary collaborations, commercial partnerships, and open science practices. As part of our effort to empower microbiome research, we develop open-source software and offer training workshops in microbiome data analytics.
Our work is generously supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Drug Administration.
The Sharpton Lab manages the Microbiome Core Facility at OSU, which provides services centered on the generation and analysis of microbiome data, especially 16S rRNA gene sequence and metagenomic data. This BSL-2 facility specializes in the analysis of animal-associated microbiomes, including human stool, saliva, and tissue biopsies. The core implements best practices in data generation and analysis that are guided by the Human Microbiome Project and Earth Microbiome Project consortiums. Services include community-wide DNA extraction, library preparation, DNA sequencing (in collaboration with the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing at OSU), and custom bioinformatic analyses. The core has to date processed 1000s of samples spanning human, mice, and zebrafish associated microbiomes.