The Human Microbiome

Our bodies are home to millions of microorganisms that are intimately associated with our health. We are studying the role these microbiomes play in oral diseases.

Richards et al. 2017

The Oral Microbiome

Study examining the impact that HIV infection in children has on oral diseases such as tooth decay.

Project Information

Arginine catabolism and dental health

Study examining the genetic basis of bacterial arginine catabolism and its role in promoting dental health.

Velsko et al. 2018

Lateral exchange of genes for antibiotic production and resistance

Study examining global paterns of exchange of bacterial genes for antibiotic production and resistance.

Chen et al. 2018

The Streptococcus mitis and Streptococcus oralis complex

Study resolving phylogenetic relationships for Streptococcus mitis and Streptococcus oralis through core and pan genome analyses.

Velsko et al. 2019

Dental fungal mycobiome

Taxonomic profiling of the dental mycobiome and how it pertains to childhood caries.

O'Connell et al. in prep

Bacterial ribosomal genes

Study examining the strength of phylogenetic signal in bacterial ribosomal genes (including 16S rRNA). Implications for microbiome studies and underlying mechanisms are explored.

Hassler et al. in prep

Legionnaires' disease

Legionnaires' disease is caused by Legionella bacteria that colonize large plumbing systems and water cooling towers. We are studying the community dynamics of the microbiome associated with outbreaks of the disease.

Hammer et al. In prep

Streptococcus agalactiae

This bacteria (also known as group B strep) is an important pathogen that causes disease in a wide range of species including humans (neonatal mortality), cattle (bovine mastitis), and fish (septicaemia and meningo-encephalitis).

Richards et al. 2011
Richards et al. 2013
Richards et al. 2019

Campylobacter sp.

Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni and Campylobacter coli are recognized as the leading causes of human bacterial gastroenteritis in the industrialized world.

Richards et al. 2013

Streptococcus canis: an opportunistic pathogen of cats and dogs

Infecting a wide range of tissues such as the central nervous system, respiratory tract, and cardiovascular system, infection can cause serious invasive disease, such as streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, necrotizing fasciitis, septicemia, pneumonia, and meningitis, with numerous reports of fatal infection.

Richards et al. 2012

The genus Streptococcus

Phylogenomic study aimed at gaining a better understanding of Streptococcus genome evolution and the genetic basis underlining the functional diversity within the genus.

Richards et al. 2014

The Spotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus narinari)

The Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Studies examining the existence of two species of Spotted Eagle Ray in the Pacific and Atlantic, and the existence of two populations of Bottlenose Dolphins within a Florida inshore lagoon.

Richards et al. 2009
Richards et al. 2013

With an emphasis on human and animal health, my lab's major focus is to utilize comparative genomics, transcriptomics, population genomics, phylogenomics, and metagenomics to study how bacterial pathogens evolve, adapt, and interact. We aim to gain a better understanding of how these pathogens adapt, respond to, and move between different environments and hosts. In addition, we have a strong interest in the human microbiome, where we aim to gain a better understanding of the relationship between these communities and their environment and also the synergy among the microorganisms that comprise these systems. We also maintain an active interest in the evolution, population genetics, and genomics of a wide range of eukaryotes.



Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634