Naomi L. Ward

I have served as Director of the Wyoming INBRE Bioinformatics Core since 2014, and work with Core scientists Nic Blouin and Vikram Chhatre to pursue the broad goals of our Core: to enhance Wyoming’s research environment through providing support for bioinformatics research and education throughout the state.

I grew up in Australia, completed graduate training in Germany, and postdoctoral work in Louisiana. I then spent six years working at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), a non-profit private research institute in the Washington DC area. During this time I became interested in genomic analysis of microbes, an interest that continues as a thread through my current research. I’ve been a faculty member in the UW departments of Molecular Biology and Botany since 2007.

Research in my laboratory is conducted on bacteria, and focuses on evolutionary cell biology and ecology. We have a particular interest in the unusual endomembranes of planctomycete bacteria (especially Gemmata obscuriglobus), how these features evolved within the planctomycete lineage, and their functional consequences for the biology of the cell. While most of our recent work has been on the spatial organization of gene expression, we are also interested in other structural and functional aspects of the endomembranes.

Most of our ecology work is conducted within the human gastrointestinal tract, where we are examining the contribution of the gut microbiome to pediatric health and disease. Our primary focus is on Hirschsprung’s disease, a developmental defect of the enteric nervous system that often leads to enterocolitis, a serious inflammatory condition. Our recent work suggests that the primary developmental defect alters early microbial colonization of the gut, which may predispose these patients to enterocolitis. A future goal is to apply an improved understanding of these processes to the development of more effective clinical interventions.
More about our research at my lab website


Nicolas Blouin

Broadly my interests relate to the evolution of reproductive strategies and how these adaptations function to provide mechanisms for organisms to persist in the extreme environment of the intertidal zone. I am currently focusing on the red algal parasitic life-style and how reproductive adaptation in closely related species allows for persistence of parasitic associations between closely related taxa. My research experience/interests involve genome assembly, structural and functional annotation, transcriptomic studies, Microbiome analysis (Qiime, Mothur, Nephele), as well as GLD (gain, loss, duplication) analysis at the gene family level across multiple genomes.

Partly from my experience of being self-taught, I have a strong interest in the training of organismal biologists in the use of computational tools to improve data handing and analysis. As part of my interest in improving computational literacy for end users, I recently joined the organizing committee for the Marine Ecological and Marine Genomics (MEEG) summer course held in Roscoff, France and occasionally hold workshops with a colleague at NIH to improve basic computer literacy.

Drop me a line at nblouin{at}

Vikram Chhatre

I grew up in India and have worked and studied in Sweden, Canada and the United States. My expertise is in population genomics of forest trees, though I have worked on many other study systems. My interests lie at the intersection of evolution, genomics and bioinformatics. I am the moderator for STRUCTURE software mailing list since 2010 and curate a population genetics literature bot on twitter (@popgen_papers).

On personal front, I am a fan of cycling and *some* outdoor activities. Since moving to Wyoming, I have dabbled in home brewing, sourdough baking and as a brand new first time homeowner, I am learning to do some wood working.

Please see my website for further details about my research: