About Us


The Duke Center for the Genomics of Microbial Systems (GeMS) was established in 2012 to address the increasingly prominent role that genome sciences are playing in shaping research in microbial systems, and in the renewed interest among the public and scientific community as to the roles that microbes play in human health, ecological balance, and biotechnology. GeMS draws upon existing strengths at Duke University in microbial ecology, evolution, host-microbe interaction, and systems biology to create a unit that fosters interactions and promote innovation in microbial sciences.

Areas of Expertise

GeMS focuses on three main areas of Microbial Genomics:

1. Microbial Evolution – GeMS investigators explore the evolution of fungal diversity, mating and sex, and the emergence of virulence traits.

2. Experimental Microbial Genomics – GeMS investigators apply next generation DNA sequencing tools to understand microbial gene function by monitoring genetic polymorphisms among closely related species or as a result of experimental manipulation, and linking these variations to defined phenotypic traits.

3. Genomics of Complex Microbial Communities – GeMS investigators are interested in exploring the diversity of microbial communities (“microbiomes”) associated with various ecological sites, ranging from marine environments to animal and insect hosts.