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Taylor Priest

Taylor Priest

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Taylor Priest is a NOMIS–ETH Fellow at the Centre for Origin and Prevalence of Life at ETH Zurich (Switzerland). He is conducting his research under the mentorship of Shinichi Sunagawa and Marie Schoelmerich in the Microbiome Lab.

Priest is a microbiologist and microbial ecologist who is passionate about understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that have shape microbial life on Earth. During his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, he studied the diversity and function of microorganisms in polar ocean ecosystems and how they have adapted to such pronounced environmental conditions. More recently, Priest joined the Microbiome Lab at ETH Zurich, where he has been focused on researching the mechanisms that drive diversification in microorganisms, to better understand how evolution progresses.

As a NOMIS Fellow, Priest aims to investigate evolution from a different perspective: That of mobile genetic elements. His research will combine DNA sequence data and innovative computational approaches with field sampling and experimental analyses to explore mobile genetic elements across Earth’s diverse biomes. Priest aims to unravel the diversity of these elements, decipher the genetic material they shuttle across environments, and discern their evolutionary trajectories and influence on the evolution of microbial life forms.

“One of the central mechanisms through which life has evolved over the past 4 billion years is the exchange of genetic material between organisms. This process is driven by mobile genetic elements. The significance of these elements in shaping evolution is evidenced by their imprints in the genomes of all living organisms today. Studying mobile genetic elements can thus provide fundamental insights into how life adapts and evolves across different ecosystems and under different conditions.”

Taylor Priest | Awards Film

Taylor Priest | Insights Film

Taylor Priest's News

ETH Zurich has announced the three postdoctoral fellows who will join the Centre for Origin and Prevalence of Life (COPL) at ETH as part of the NOMIS–ETH Fellowship Program. David […]

Taylor Priest's Insights

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