Center for Microbial Dynamics and Infection

The Center for Microbial Dynamics and Infection (CMDI) is an interdisciplinary collaboration at Georgia Tech seeking to understand the ecology, interactions and evolution of microbes. We are focused on the understanding microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions that are relevant to human health, ecosystem dynamics and sustainability. Our research affiliates specialize in: Microbial Ecology, Sociomicrobiology, Infection Dynamics, Host-pathogen interactions, Marine Microbiology, Microbial Evolution, Spatial structure in microbiology, Cystic Fibrosis pathogens, and Viral Ecology.  

Trainee Spotlight


Senior Biological Sciences major Sarah Verlander is the ultimate “multi-tasker”. She began her career as an undergraduate researcher at Tech while working jobs as a peer tutor, a theater usher, and as the supervisor of 64 employees at the campus recreation center. Sarah took Introductory Microbiology and Microbiology Lab with Joel Kostka in fall of 2018. She was a stellar student, asking probing questions with a keen interest. Sarah designed and completed her own independent research project in the microbiology lab class during which she isolated and characterized strains of oil-degrading bacteria from soils in Piedmont park. To Kostka’s delight, she approached him around mid-semester to say that her experiences in class convinced her that she should pursue a career in environmental microbiology research. Sarah began immediately attending weekly lab meetings in the Kostka group and performing the analysis of wetland microbial communities in the lab. By the end of the semester, she requested a meeting to discuss her research interests. She came with an itemized list of research goals/ objectives including learning how to perform an independent research project and writing research proposals......More

Upcoming Seminars


  • Georgia Tech Science Forum Spotlights Coronavirus Outbreak

    The science behind the epidemiological detective story regarding the current coronavirus epidemic was the subject of a Georgia Tech forum this week.

  • Digging Up Climate Clues in Peat Moss

    Gardeners love peat moss; it’s great for growing plants. But Joel Kostka, professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, wonders if it serves as a warning sign for the impact of climate change on plants and microbes. He travels to a unique experimentation site in Minnesota to find answers to his questions. 

  • Warming Impedes a Coral Defense, but Hungry Fish Enhance It

    Corals exude chemical defenses against bacteria, but when heated in the lab, those defenses lost much potency against a pathogen involved in coral bleaching. There's hope: A key coral's defense was heartier when that coral was taken from an area where fishing was banned. Plenty of fish were left to eat away seaweed that was overgrowing corals elsewhere and may have weakened the key coral's defenses even more.

Upcoming Events