Louis-Marie Bobay

Adjunct Assistant Professor, 2018
Ph.D. in Biology, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France (2014)

Office: Eberhart 102

Research: Bioinformatics, Microbial genomics and evolution
Teaching: Evolution, Computational Biology, Programming, Biostatistics

Research Overview

My lab focuses on the evolution of microbial genomes and populations. We apply and develop computational approaches to elucidate the forces that shape the architecture and gene repertoire of microbial genomes. We are particularly interested in understanding the impact of population dynamics on microbial evolution. We are working on the evolution of gene flow across bacterial populations and on the processes leading to microbial speciation.

Evolution of gene repertoires: We have a long-term interest in understanding the processes that drive the evolution of gene repertoires across different lifeforms. This question covers multiple aspects, such as: i) How do new genes originate? ii) What drives gene gain and loss? iii) What causes the disruption of gene flow among microbial populations? iv) What factors determine the diversity of gene repertoires in microbes? We investigate these questions by combining several approaches: Population Genomics, Phylogeny, Comparative Genomics, Metagenomics and Experimental Evolution. We are particularly interested in addressing these questions through large-scale analyses including multiple species living in diverse ecological backgrounds.

Evolution of microbial populations: We are developing a research program addressing the structure of populations within species and the organization of multiple species into their niche. We are applying comparative metagenomic approaches to understand the dynamic of complex microbial populations. Such analyses allow us to precisely follow microbial evolution from individual alleles to entire genotypes. We are particularly interested in understanding the impact of gene flow during the short-term evolution of populations.

Speciation of microbial populations: We study the processes of speciation in microbes. This project seeks to understand the mechanisms that lead to speciation in non-sexual organisms. In particular, we are comparing the speciation process in clonal and recombining microbes. We are focusing on the mechanisms that drive genotype divergence or convergence of microbial populations and the impact of gene flow.

Research Support

Dr. Bobay’s research has been supported by the NIH (R01) and the NSF.


Dr. Bobay received his M.S. degree from the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) of Lyon and his Ph.D. degree from the Institut Pasteur of Paris and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (France) in 2014. Before he joined UNCG in 2018, Dr. Bobay was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas in the Ochman lab.