Jack A. Gilbert portrait

Jack A. Gilbert

Microbial Ecologist
- Biosciences

Jack A. Gilbert is the group leader for Microbial Ecology in the Biosciences Division whose ongoing research is focused on exploring how microbial communities assemble themselves in natural and man-made environments. Jack’s interests include the use of ‘omics technologies (metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics, metametabolomics) to answer questions about microbial ecology, microbial physiology, and biogeochemistry.

He currently manages the Earth Microbiome Project, which is an ongoing effort to characterize the microbial diversity of our planet.

Jack also develops predictive models that help capture our understanding of ecosystem function mediated by microorganisms. His work spans the scale of microbial influence, from exploring how bacterial and archaeal communities in soil and coal seams mediate methane production, to creating predictive understanding microbial community structure and function at the global scale. His research spans, flood plains, forests, and grasslands, to buildings, humans, and aerobiology. His primary aim is to identify fundamental trends that can be used to predict microbial ecology dynamics in any ecosystem.

In addition to his duties at Argonne, Jack is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution and Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago, and the Associate Director of the Institute for Genomic and Systems Biology. Finally, he has a joint appointment at the Marine Biological laboratory in Woods Hole.

He runs multiple externally funded initiatives, including The Home Microbiome Project that is exploring how humans interact with the bacteria living in their homes, and the Hospital Microbiome Project, which is examining how adding patients and staff into a hospital building effects the development of microbial communities and important pathogens.

Awards, Honors and Memberships

  • Member of the Society for General Microbiology
  • Member of the International Society for Microbial Ecology
  • Member of the American Society for Microbiology

Select Publications

  • Knight R, Jansson J, Field D, Fierer N, Desai N, Fuhrman J, Hugenholtz P, Meyer F, Stevens R, Bailey M, Gordon JI, Kowalchuk G, Gilbert JA. 2012. Designing Better Metagenomic Surveys: The role of experimental design and metadata capture in making useful metagenomic datasets for ecology and biotechnology. Nature Biotechnology. In press.
  • Larsen PE, Field D, Gilbert JA. 2012. Predicting bacterial community assemblages using an artificial neural network approach. Nature Methods. doi:10.1038/nmeth.1975
  • Larsen PE, Hamada Y, Gilbert JA. Modeling Microbial Communities. Journal of Biotechnology. In press
  • Gilbert JA, Meyer F. 2012. Modeling the Earth’s Microbiome: A real world deliverable for microbial ecology. ASM Microbe Magazine. 7 (2), 64
  • Gilbert JA, Steele J, Caporaso JG, Steinbruck L, Somerfield PJ, Reeder J, Temperton B, Huse S, Joint I, McHardy AC, Knight R, Fuhrman JA, Field D. 2012. Defining seasonal marine microbial community dynamics. ISME J. 6, 298-308.
  • Davies N, Field D, Meyer C, Gilbert JA. 2012. Sequencing data: A genomic network to monitor Earth. Nature. 481, 145.
  • Caporaso JG, Field D, Paszkiewicz K, Knight R, Gilbert JA. 2012. Evidence for a persistent microbial community in the Western English Channel. ISME J. 6, 1089–1093 doi:10.1038/ismej.2011.162.
  • Gilbert JA and Dupont C. 2011. Marine Metagenomics. Annual Review of Marine Science. Volume 3: 347-371.
  • Gilbert JA, O’Dor R, Vogel T. 2011. Survey studies are still vital to science. Nature. 469, 162.
  • Gilbert JA, Field D, Swift P, Thomas S, Cummings D, et al. (2010) The Taxonomic and Functional Diversity of Microbes at a Temperate Coastal Site: A ‘Multi-Omic’ Study of Seasonal and Diel Temporal Variation. PLoS ONE 5(11): e15545. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015545
  • Gilbert JA, Field D, Huang Y, Edwards R, Li W, et al. (2008) Detection of Large Numbers of Novel Sequences in the Metatranscriptomes of Complex Marine Microbial Communities. PLoS ONE 3(8): e3042. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003042