Matthew Sullivan

Research Interests

Matthew B. Sullivan, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology Departments. Dr. Sullivan’s research is focused on the co-evolution of microbes and phages in ‘wild’ populations, as well as the impact of marine phages on microbe-mediated global biogeochemistry. As the world faces global change and resource limitation, understanding the planet’s microbes becomes a necessity. This is because microbes drive the biogeochemistry that runs the planet, and are central to human endeavors, from food to health to industry. Viruses that infect microbes (phages) profoundly shape microbial populations and processes by acting as both major predators and sources of new genes. Dr. Sullivan’s Lab, also known as the Tucson Marine Phage Lab, works to understand viral impacts on these globally important microbial processes. Empirically, the Sullivan lab tests hypotheses through direct systems-level studies of natural populations, complemented by developing and studying model phage-host systems in the lab with the goal of generating the data required for predictive ecosystem modeling. Practically, the lab develops new ways to "see" viruses – in the microscope, in environmental sequence datasets, and in experiments – i.e., learning how to "count" across different data types.