Getting More Out of the Human Microbiome Data: Untangling the 16S rRNA Gene Based Phylogeny and Taxonomy of Clostridiales
Mentors: Dirk Gevers and Brian Haas, Genome Biology
Classifying and naming the bacteria that live in and on us is important to better understanding their role. Christel and her Broad colleagues were able to help support the Human Microbiome Project in decreasing the number of unclassified Clostridiales genetic sequences from 26 to 8%.
Christel and her Broad colleagues looked at the existing schemes for naming bacteria, known as taxonomy, and worked to improve our understanding of Clostridiales, a group of organisms that is very important in the human gut. Christel and her colleagues thought the existing taxonomic schemes could benefit from a revision. Conflicts in naming conventions – classifying the organism with confidence -- were systematically documented and resolved, allowing more accurate comparisons of microbial communities.
"My second summer at the Broad Institute provided me with a great opportunity to grow both as a scientist and as a person. I learned what it means to conduct cutting-edge research in my field and felt the excitement from conducting such research. My experience allowed me to learn more about both bioinformatics and microbial ecology. I am grateful to everyone at the Broad who helped make my summer a great one."
Christel Chehoud, a computational biology junior at Princeton University, resolved conflicts between phylogenetic groupings and existing taxonomic nomenclature to improve classification accuracy of genetic sequences in the order of bacteria known as Clostridiales.