John mallon

I am interested in prokaryotic cells’ methods of self vs. non-self. How do cells know who is friend and who is foe? What forms of communication occur between neighbors when they “meet?” I am interested in this topic at many scales: from the atomic resolution of amino acid side chains, to the complex social behaviors that arise from this fundamental aspect of biology. There is also much evidence now, that points to the importance of the human microbiome on health. The details of how it is important are only just being discovered. I hope, in the future, to use my knowledge of self vs. non-self biology to help contribute to human microbiome research.


At the same time, I am fascinated by life found in Earth’s most extreme of environments, mainly archaea. I am looking to explore the plethora of untapped biology in this domain of life and how it relates to the biology in the other domains as well as perhaps, life on other planets.


When my hands are not holding a pipette, they are holding on for dear life on a climbing wall or clutching the dice that contain the fate of my current D&D character.