Major Responsibilities/Research Interests
Dr. Walter’s research is primarily concerned with the microbial ecology of the human and animal gastrointestinal tract and the metabolic and immunological interactions between the microbiome and its host in relation to health. He views the interrelationship of gut microbes with their host as a symbiosis and is especially interested in the evolutionary processes that have shaped this partnership and the biological outcomes for both the host and the microbes. He is also interested in how environmental factors (such as diet and lifestyle) and historic processes impact the microbial communities in the gut and what consequences their effects have for the host. His research, which is inter-disciplinary and highly collaborative, has resulted in several publications on the evolution of the model gut symbiont Lactobacillus reuteri, the importance of environmental (diet) and host factors (host genotype) on the composition and functionality of the gut microbiota, and the impact of diet on gut microbial ecology in relation to health.