A chat with Rob Knight

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Nature Reviews Microbiology and to give our readers a glimpse behind the curtains, we asked a few of our past authors about their views of microbiology, the journal and their experiences of working with the journal.
A chat with Rob Knight

In your opinion, what have been the most noteworthy advances in the field of microbiology research in the past 15 years? Looking forward, what do you expect to be the most exciting advances in the next few years?

The most noteworthy advances have been the advent of next-generation sequencing, coupled to software tools that allow interpretation of all that sequence data. Looking forward, I expect a comparable transformation in our ability to understand the chemistry of microbes and microbial communities.

Do you have a favourite article that was published in Nature Reviews Microbiology, and if so, can you tell us why?

My favorite is Ley et al. 2008 “ Worlds within worlds: evolution of the vertebrate gut microbiota”, which in many ways set the agenda for the Earth Microbiome Project and revealed fundamental new insights into how microbial communities are structured globally. My favorite one that I wasn’t involved in was Sarkis Mazmanian’s 2016 piece on gut biogeography, which I thought did a really nice job of integrating the microbiology, immunology, and chemistry that drives who lives where in the gut and why, and set the stage for future more detailed research untangling all these factors.

You have written for Nature Reviews Microbiology in the past, can you tell us about the experience?

In all three cases, I appreciated the very active roles the editors took in shaping and improving the manuscripts, and in coordinating reviewers who were both thorough and helpful. I look forward to working with you again on future articles!

Read the Reviews by Rob Knight and colleagues here:

Best practices for analysing microbiomes
Rob Knight, Alison Vrbanac, Bryn C. Taylor, Alexander Aksenov, Chris Callewaert, Justine Debelius, Antonio Gonzalez, Tomasz Kosciolek, Laura-Isobel McCall, Daniel McDonald, Alexey V. Melnik, James T. Morton, Jose Navas, Robert A. Quinn, Jon G. Sanders, Austin D. Swafford, Luke R. Thompson, Anupriya Tripathi, Zhenjiang Z. Xu, Jesse R. Zaneveld, Qiyun Zhu, J. Gregory Caporaso & Pieter C. Dorrestein
Nature Reviews Microbiology 16, 410–422 (2018) 

The microbiome explored: recent insights and future challenges
Martin Blaser, Peer Bork, Claire Fraser, Rob Knight & Jun Wang
Nature Reviews Microbiology 11, 213–217 (2013)

Microbiota restoration: natural and supplemented recovery of human microbial communities
Gregor Reid, Jessica A. Younes, Henny C. Van der Mei, Gregory B. Gloor, Rob Knight & Henk J. Busscher
Nature Reviews Microbiology 9, 27–38 (2011)

Worlds within worlds: evolution of the vertebrate gut microbiota
Ruth E. Ley , Catherine A. Lozupone , Micah Hamady , Rob Knight & Jeffrey I. Gordon
Nature Reviews Microbiology 6, 776–788 (2008)

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