Andrew Moeller

Assistant Professor Faculty Curator of Mammalogy, Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates


I am an evolutionary biologist interested in symbiosis, particularly host-microbe relationships. All multicellular eukaryotes serve as habitats for microbial lineages, which in turn have opened up new adaptive trajectories for their hosts. Vertebrates, for example, harbor diverse communities of microorganisms that have become deeply integrated with their hosts’ metabolic, immune, and neuroendocrine systems. Despite the ubiquity and profound effects of these interactions, many fundamental questions remain unanswered. Which microorganisms coevolve with hosts? What are the genetic bases of the intimate partnerships between host and microbial lineages? How have microorganisms shaped host adaption and diversification? My research is aimed at answering these and related questions through a combination of observational and experimental studies in the field and in the lab.

Research Focus

Our lab is focused on understanding how symbioses drive evolution. Current work is investigating coevolution between vertebrates and microorganisms. Ongoing projects include 1) experiments in hominid-cell cultures to identify molecular mechanisms underpinning relationships between hominids and the gut microbiota, 2) experiments in gnotobiotic rodent species to examine the contribution of the gut microbiota to the diversification of organismal phenotypes, 3) comparative genomics of vertebrate gut bacteria to identify signatures of bacterial adaptation to host lineages, 4) observational studies of wild and domesticated vertebrates to disentangle transmission modes of members of the gut microbiota.  More information and a list of publications can be found at


  • Google Scholar Profile:
  • Sarkar, Amar, Siobhán Harty, Soili M. Lehto, Andrew H. Moeller, Timothy G. Dinan, Robin  IM Dunbar, John F. Cryan, and Philip WJ Burnet. 2018 The microbiome in psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 22: 611–636.
  • Barbian, Hannah J., Yingying Li, Miguel Ramirez, Zachary Klase, Iddi Lipende, Deus Mjungu,  Andrew H. Moeller, Micahel L. Wilson, Anne E. Pusey, Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf, Frederic D. Bushman, and Beatrice H. Hahn. 2018. Destabilization of the gut microbiome marks the end-stage of Simian Immunodeficiency virus infection in wild chimpanzees. American Journal of Primatology 80: e22515.
  • Moeller, Andrew H., Taichi Suzuki, Dana Lin, Eileen A. Lacey, Samuel K. Wasser, Michael W. Nachman. 2017. Dispersal limitation drives the diversification of the mammalian gut microbiota. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 52: 13768–13773.
  • Moeller, Andrew H. 2017. The shrinking human gut microbiome. Current Opinion in  Microbiology 38: 30–35.
  • Raymann, Kasie T., Andrew H. Moeller, Andrew L. Goodman, Howard Ochman. 2017.  Unexpected archaeal diversity in the great ape gut microbiome. mSphere 2: e00026-17.
  • Moeller, Andrew H., Alejandro Caro-Quintero, Deus Mjungu, Alexander V. Georgiev,  Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf, Martin N. Muller, Anne E. Pusey, Martine Peeters, Beatrice H. Hahn, and Howard Ochman. 2016. Cospeciation of gut microbiota with hominids. Science 353: 380–382. 
  • Moeller, Andrew H., Steffen Foerster, Michael L. Wilson, Anne E. Pusey, Beatrice H. Hahn,  and Howard Ochman. 2016. Social behavior shapes the chimpanzee panmicrobiome. Science Advances 2: e1500997. 
  • Moeller, Andrew H., Martine Peeters, Ahibjo Ayouba, Eitel Mpoudi Ngole, Amadine Esteban,  Beatrice H. Hahn, and Howard Ochman. 2015. Stability of the gorilla microbiome despite SIV infection. Molecular Ecology 24: 690–697.
  • Waldor, Matthew K., Gene Tyson, Elhanan Borenstein, Howard Ochman, Andrew H. Moeller,  B. Brett Finlay, Heidi H. Kong, et al., 2015. Where next for microbiome research? PLOS Biology 13: e1002050.
  • Moeller, Andrew H., Yingying Li, Eitel Mpoudi Ngole, Steve Ahuka-Mundeke, Elizabeth V.  Lonsdorf, Anne E. Pusey, Martine Peeters, Beatrice H. Hahn, and Howard Ochman. 2014. Rapid changes in the gut microbiome during human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 16431–16435.
  • ***Highlighted by Faculty of 1000 Moeller, Andrew H. and Howard Ochman. 2014. Microbiomes are true to type. Proceedings of  the National Academy of Sciences 111: 9372–9373.
  • Moeller, Andrew H., Martine Peeters, Jean-Basco Ndjango, Yingying Li, Beatrice H. Hahn, and  Howard Ochman. 2013. Sympatric chimpanzees and gorillas harbor convergent gut microbial communities. Genome Research 23: 1715–1720.
  • Moeller, Andrew H.*, Meghan Shilts*, Yingying Li, Rebecca S. Rudicell, Elizabeth V.  Lonsdorf, Anne E. Pusey, Michael L. Wilson, Beatrice H. Hahn, and Howard Ochman. 2013. SIV-induced instability of the chimpanzee gut microbiome. Cell Host & Microbe 14: 340–345.
  • (*joint first authors) Moeller, Andrew H. and Howard Ochman. 2013. Factors that drive variation among gut  microbial communities. Gut Microbes 4: 403–408.
  • López-Giráldez, Francesc, Andrew H. Moeller, and Jeffrey P. Townsend. 2013. Evaluating phylogenetic informativeness as a predictor of phylogenetic signal for metazoan, fungal, and mammalian phylogenomic data sets. BioMed Research International 2013.
  • Moeller, Andrew H. and Jeffrey P. Townsend. 2013. Response to: The relative utility of  sequence divergence and phylogenetic informativeness profiling in phylogenetic study design. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 66: 436–436.
  • Moeller, Andrew H., Patrick H. Degnan, Anne E. Pusey, Michael L. Wilson, Beatrice H. Hahn,  and Howard Ochman. 2012. Chimpanzees and humans harbour compositionally similar gut enterotypes. Nature Communications 3: 1179.
  • Moeller, Andrew H. and Jeffrey P. Townsend. 2011. Phylogenetic informativeness profiling of  12 genes for 28 vertebrate taxa without divergence dates. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 60: 271–272.

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BIOEE Courses - Spring 2024

BIOEE Courses - Fall 2024