In addition to animals and plants, there are also some “little” friends who are invisible to the naked eye, sharing the colorful world with humans. In recent years, with the development of the microbiome research, scientists have found that microorganisms play a critical role in many aspects of human health, environmental stability and evolution, and agricultural production.
Lei Dai, a professor of Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, is one of the researchers.
In his Ph.D. study, Lei combined the microbiome research with dynamic system theory and demonstrated that a critical slowing down can provide warning signals of tipping points. This study has a universal positive significance, not only for the prediction of the natural eco-system, but also for the changes in health and economic status.
Lei's research has been highly recognized by experts including members of the National Academy of Science in the US and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Stephen R. Carpenter, a member of the NAS, spoke highly of his work. “Dai et al. present a novel resilience index and use ingenious laboratory experiments to support the theory underlying it. Their approach is based on the spatial distribution of organisms and thereby adds, quite literally, a new dimension to attempts to predict transitions.”
In his study, Lei focuses on the research of microorganisms. By combining high-throughput experiments, bioinformatics, and mathematical modeling, his work has laid an important foundation for engineering microbiomes and understanding the evolution of drug resistance.
For future plans, Lei said that he wants to ensure sufficient effort in basic science research, focusing on the synthetic microbiome and molecular evolution. In addition, he is actively seeking commercial transformation and cooperation opportunities.