Dan Knights

Computational microbiologist
Dan Knights develops computational methods for doing precision medicine with gut bacterial communities, or microbiomes, and he applies those methods to study human disease.

Why you should listen

Trillions of bacteria live in our guts, protecting us from infection and aiding our digestion, yet these communities are so complex that we need advanced computational methods to study them. In his multidisciplinary research lab, Dan Knights combines expertise in data mining and biology to learn about how modern lifestyles and medical practices are affecting our microbiomes and leading to increases in modern diseases.

Knights received his PhD in computer science from the University of Colorado, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He has co-authored more than 70 highly cited articles in top multidisciplinary journals. In 2015 he was named a McKnight Land-Grant Professor by the University of Minnesota. His lab is building a next-generation informatics pipeline for microbiome-targeted drug discovery, linking nutrition and microbial activity to clinical outcomes.

Dan Knights’ TED talk