SBME Seminar: Michael R. McLaren

(For access to the seminar, email at least 2 hours prior to the start of the event.)

Host: Dr. Carolina Tropini

Measuring and mitigating experimental bias in microbiome studies

Amplicon and metagenomic sequencing both make it possible to simultaneously identify and quantify hundreds to thousands of species in a single microbiome sample. But these technologies measure some species many times less efficiently than others and so provide only a biased view of community composition. Moreover, this bias is protocol-dependent, making measurements from different studies incomparable. In this talk, I summarize our work using mathematical modeling and experiments to determine the effects of bias on microbiome studies and develop practical ways to mitigate it.




Michael R. McLaren
Postdoctoral Fellow, Callahan Lab, North Carolina State University

Michael received a BA in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in Biology from Stanford University before joining the Callahan lab in 2017. During his PhD, Michael studied adaptation in the presence of spatial structure, such as in populations of host-associated microbes. Michael is now working on developing calibration methods that can make microbiome measurements quantitatively comparable across labs.