Sandra Breum Andersen
I am an evolutionary biologist, working at the intersection of evolutionary and clinical microbiology, in the emerging field of Evolutionary Medicine. My research aims to understand the effects of microbial social interactions within, and among microbial species, and between microbes and their hosts. The ultimate goal is the ability to predict and manipulate microbial effects on host fitness. Social Evolution theory provides a framework to understand interactions such as competition, cooperation and cheating. I was introduced to Social Evolution theory through my MSc and PhD work on ant microbes. I have since applied this theoretical framework to understand the dynamics of human associated bacteria. To achieve this I use in vitro and in vivo growth experiments, microscopy, and bioinformatics. I believe this approach is key at a time when the importance of microbes in health and disease is increasingly recognized, and the composition of our microbiomes are changing because of e.g. overuse of antibiotics and diets with high amounts of processed food.
I have received my BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in biology from the University of Copenhagen, with research stays and fieldwork in Australia, Thailand, Panama, Brazil and the US. I have done a post doc between the University of Oxford and the Technical University of Denmark, and another between New York University and the Faculty of Health at the University of Copenhagen, prior to receiving a Sapere Aude grant to work as an Assistant Professor at the Section of Microbiology.