Erik Hom is an Associate Professor at the University of Mississippi (UM; since 2014).  He obtained a B.A. from Swarthmore College, a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of California-San Francisco with John Sedat, and did a postdoctoral fellowship in Andrew Murray’s lab at Harvard University, where he developed a suite of fungal-algal mutualisms that serve as the basis for his lab’s current work. The Hom lab is generally interested in distilling rules for how microbes symbiose or interact in a persistent fashion and form stable communities that perform specified functions, particularly as they relate to how microbial symbioses first form and evolve and the role of the physicochemical environment in influencing these processes.  Members of the lab currently work on projects ranging from fungal-algal mutualism and symbiosis, the chemical ecology of marine cyanobacterial polycultures, sloth-microbe symbioses, and the microbial ecology of fermented beverages.

Erik teaches undergraduate Microbiology at UM, graduate courses on Bioinformatics and Mutualism, and leads a yearly research-centric, hybrid Study USA course on microbial symbiosis and STEM education (to Hawaii or California) to give UM undergraduates a unique opportunity for experiential learning.  He founded and directs the ARISE@UM program that provides faculty-mentored research experiences to high school and community college students.  He is particularly passionate about improving the STEM preparedness of students in underserved and poorly-resourced communities, especially in the Mississippi Delta region.

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