Dr. Ashkaan K. Fahimipour

Blending ecology, mathematics, and molecular biology to understand nature's complexity

Goodbye OR. Hello CA.

After a few edifying years with Jessica Green at the University of Oregon, I’m off to an exciting new opportunity!

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Next week, I am joining Thilo Gross’ lab in the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of California, Davis. There, I’ll be working on new statistical and mathematical tools to describe the structure, functioning, and dynamics of complex microbial systems.

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Omnivory can be surprising

Sharing our new preprint describing theoretical conditions in which omnivores in nature counterintuitively boost the biomass of the plants that they eat. These simple models provide a simple explanation for why the top-down effects of omnivory seem to be so variable across systems. Growing one’s ecological intuition by studying “simple” mathematical models is my favorite kind of science (probably owing to an admiration of Robert MacArthur’s work).

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Chemicals + microbial genes

Check out our new open access paper describing relationships between widespread antimicrobial chemicals and the urban microbial communities that surround us. Although we cannot draw causal links, we find pretty convincing evidence that high evironmental concentrations of the chemical triclosan coincide with lots more Gram-positive bacteria that are enriched for genes involving cellular efflux, stress response, all kinds of different cross-membrane transporters, and resistances to multiple clinically-relevant antibiotic drugs (yikes!). The full set of metagenomic and mass spec data have been made available on the Sequence Read Archive (SRA) under accession no. PRJNA489265.

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