Hassan Salem, Ph.D.
Emory University, Atlanta
Born in 1986 in Cairo
Studied Botany at Miami University and at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena
College for Life Sciences
Microbial Mediation of FolivoryNumerous adaptations in animals are a direct consequence of symbiotic partnerships with microorganisms. A core aim in my research is to study symbioses across multiple levels of biological organization, from the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying the initiation and maintenance of these associations to the ecological and genetic consequences of coevolution. Leveraging advances in genomics and transcriptomics, in combination with bioassays and biochemical analyses, I apply these tools to discover bacterial diversity in herbivorous insects and, more significantly, to reveal how microbial metabolic capabilities functionally contribute to the phenotypic complexity of their hosts. To this aim, phytophagous insects are central to my research program, serving as a model to study the role of microbes in mediating folivory in animals and to better understand the evolutionary ecology of an exceptionally diverse phytophagous lineage: leaf beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). For my stay at the Wissenschaftskolleg, my aim is to develop the conceptual and experimental framework necessary to uncover the breadth of symbiotic partnerships between leaf-feeding insects and bacteria, as well as to understand the adaptive impact of these partnerships.
Salem H., E. Bauer, R. Kirsch, A. Berasategui, M. Cripps, B. Weiss, R. Koga, K. Fukumori, H. Vogel, T. Fukatsu, and M. Kaltenpoth (2017). "Drastic genome reduction in an herbivore's pectinolytic symbiont." Cell 171, 1520-1531.
Salem, H., L. Florez, N. Gerardo, and M. Kaltenpoth (2015). "An out-of-body experience: the extracellular dimension for the transmission of mutualistic bacteria in insects." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282, 20142957.
Salem, H., E. Bauer, A. Strauss, H. Vogel, M. Marz, and M. Kaltenpoth (2014). "Vitamin supplementation by gut symbionts ensures metabolic homeostasis in an insect host." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 1796, 20141838.